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BY    JOHN     L.    STEPHENS, 

HOLY    LAND,"    ETC. 



VOL     II. 

j  '• 

LONDON:  ,3 





Printed  by  W.  CLOWES  and  SONS, 
14,  Charing  Cross. 




Visit  to  the  Volcano  of  Masaya. — Village  of  Masaya. — Lake  of  Masaya. — Nindi- 
ti. — Ascent  of  the  Volcano. — Account  of  it. — The  Crater.— Descent  into  it. — 
Volcano  of  Nindiri. — Ignorance  of  the  People  concerning  Objects  of  Interest. — 
Return  to  Masaya. — Another  Countryman. — Managua. — Lake  of  Managua. — 
Fishing. — Beautiful  Scenery.— Mateares. — Questa  del  Relox. — Nagarotis. — 
Crosses. — A  Gamekeeper. — Pueblo  Nuevo Page  7 


Beautiful  Plain.— Leon.— Stroll  through  the  Town.— Baneful  Effects  of  Party 
Spirit.— Scenes  of  Horror. — Unpleasant  Intelligence. — Journey  continued. — 
A  fastidious  Beggar. — Chinandaga. — Gulf  of  Couchagua. — Visit  to  Realejo. — 
Cotton  Factory.— Harbour  of  Realejo. — El  Viejo. — Port  of  Nagoscolo. —  Im- 
portance of  a  Passport.— Embarking  Mules. — A  Bungo. — Volcano  of  Cosagui- 
na. — Eruption  of  1835. — La  Union .22 


Journey  to  San  Salvador. — A  new  Companion. — San  Alejo. — San  Miguel. — War 
Alarms.  —  Another  Countryman.  —  State  of  San  Salvador.  —  River  Lempa.  — 
San  Vicente. — Volcano  of  San  Vicente. — Thermal  Springs.— Cojutepeque. — 
Arrival  at  San  Salvador.  —  Prejudice  against  Foreigners.  —  Contributions.— 
Pressgangs. — Vice-president  Vigil. — Taking  of  San  Miguel  and  San  Vicente. 
— Rumours  of  a  March  upon  San  Salvador. — Departure  from  San  Salvador  41 


Contributions. — El  Baranco  de  Guaramal. — Volcano  of  Izalco. — Depredations  of 
Rascon. — Zonzonate. — News  from  Guatimala. — Journey  continued. — Aguisal 
co. — Apeneca. — Mountain  of  Aguachapa. — Subterranean  Fires. — Aguachapa.— 
Defeat  of  Morazan. — Confusion  and  Terror 58 


Approach  of  Carrera's  Forces.— Terror  of  the  Inhabitants.— Their  Flight.— Sur- 
render of  the  Town.— Ferocity  of  the  Soldiery.— A  Bulletin.— Diplomacy. — A 
Passport.— A  Breakfast.— An  Alarm.— The  Widow  Padilla.— An  Attack.— De- 
feat of  Carrera's  Forces.— The  Town  takea  by  General  Morazan. — His  Entry. 
— The  Widow's. Son.— Visit  to  General  Morazan. — His  Appearance,  Character, 
&c. — Plans  deranged 74 



Visit  from  General  Morazan. — End  of  his  Career. — Procuring  a  Guide.— Depar- 
ture for  Guatimala.— Fright  of  the  People.— The  Rio  Paz.— Hacienda  of  Pal- 
mita. — A  fortunate  Escape. — Hacienda  of  San  Jose. — An  awkward  Predica- 
ment.— A  kind  Host.— Rancho  of  Hocotilla. — Oratorio  and  Leon. — Rio  de  los 
Esclavos. — The  Village. — Approach  to  Guatimala.— Arrival  at  Guatimala. — A 
Sketch  of  the  Wars. — Defeat  of  Morazan. — Scene  of  Massacre  .  Page  93 


Ruins  of  Quirigua. — Visit  to  them. — Los  Amates.— Pyramidal  Structure. — A 
Colossal  Head. — An  Altar. — A  Collection  of  Monuments. — Statues. — Charac- 
ter of  the  Ruins. — A  lost  City.— Purchasing  a  ruined  City  .  .  .  118 


Reception  at  the  Government  House. — The  Captain  in  Trouble. — A  Change  of 
Character. — Arrangements  for  Journey  to  Palenque. — Arrest  of  the  Captain. — 
His  Release. — Visit  from  a  Countryman. — Dangers  in  Prospect. — Last  Stroll 
through  the  Suburbs. — Hospital  and  Cemetery  of  San  Juan  de  Dios. — Fearful 
State  of  the  Country.— Last  Interview  with  Carrera. — Departure  from  Guati- 
mala.—  A  Don  Quixote.  —  Ciudad  Vieja.  —  Plain  of  El  Vieja.  —  Volcanoes, 
Plains,  and  Villages. — San  Andres  Isapa. — Dangerous  Road. — A  Molina  .  125 


journey  continued. — Barrancas. — Tecpan  Guatimala.— A  noble  Church. — A  sa- 
cred Stone. — The  ancient  City. — Description  of  the  Ruins. — A  Molina. — Anoth- 
er Earthquake — Patzum. — A  Ravine. — Fortifications. — Los  Altos.  —  Godines. 
— Losing  a  good  Friend — Magnificent  Scenery. — San  Antonio. — Lake  of  Ati- 
tan 146 


Lake  of  Atitan. — Conjectures  as  to  its  Origin,  &c. — A  Sail  on  the  Lake. — A  dan- 
gerous Situation.— A  lofty  Mountain  Range.— Ascent  of  the  Mountains.— Com- 
manding View.— Beautiful  Plain. — An  elevated  Village.— Ride  along  the  Lake. 
— Solola. — Visit  to  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche. — Scenery  on  the  Road.— Barrancas. 
— San  Thomas. — Whipping-posts. — Plain  of  Quiche. — The  Village. — Ruins  of 
Quiche.— Its  History.— Desolate  Scene. — A  facetious  Cura. — Description  of 
the  Ruins.— Plan.— The  Royal  Palace.— The  Place  of  Sacrifice.— An  Image. 
— Two  Heads,  &c.— Destruction  of  the  Palace  recent.— An  Arch  .  .161 


Interior  of  a  Convent. — Royal  Bird  of  Quiche. — Indian  Languages. — The  Lord's 
Prayer  in  the  Quiche  Language. — Numerals  in  the  same — Church  of  Quiche". 
— Indian  Superstitions. — Another  lost  City. — Tierra  de  Guerra. — The  Abori- 
ginals.—Their  Conversion  to  Christianity.— They  were  never  conquered.— A 


Jiving  City. — Indian  Tradition  respecting  this  City. — Probably  has  never  been 
visited  by  the  Whites. — Presents  a  noble  Field  for  future  Enterprise. — Depar- 
ture.—  San  Pedro. — Virtue  of  a  Passport. — A  difficult  Ascent. — Mountain 
Scenery.— Totonicapan.— An  excellent  Dinner.— A  Country  of  Aloes. — "River 
•of  Blood." — Arrival  at  Quezaltenango Page  180 


Quezaltenango. — Account  of  it. — Conversion  of  the  Inhabitants  to  Christianity. 
— Appearance  of  the  City. — The  Convent. — Insurrection. — Carrera's  March 
upon  Quezaltenango. — His  Treatment  of  the  Inhabitants. — Preparations  for 
Holy  Week. — The  Church. — A  Procession. — Good  Friday. — Celebration  of  the 
Resurrection. — Opening  Ceremony. — The  Crucifixion. — A  Sermon. — Descent 
from  the  Cross.— Grand  Procession. — Church  of  El  Calvario. — The  Case  of 
the  Cura. — Warm  Springs  of  Almolonga  .......  203 


Journey  continued. — A  Mountain  Plain.  —  Lost  Guides.  —  A  trying  Moment  — 
Agua  Calientes. — A  magnificent  View. —  Gold  Ore. —  San  Sebastiano. —  Gue- 
guetenango.  —  Sierra  Madre. —  A  huge  Skeleton.  —  The  Ruins.  —  Pyramidal 
Structures, — A  Vault. — Mounds. — A  welcqme  Addition. — Interior  of  a  Mound. 
— Vases.— Ascent  of  the  Sierra  Madre. — Buena  Vista. — The  Descent.— Todos 
Santos.— San  Martin. — San  Andres  Petapan.— A  Forest  on  Fire. — Suffering 
of  the  Mules  from  Swarms  of  Flies. — San  Antonio  de  Guista  .  .  .  221 


Comfortable  Lodgings. — Journey  continued. — Stony  Road. — Beautiful  River. — 
Suspension  Bridge. —  The  Dolores. —  Rio  Lagertero. —  Enthusiasm  brought 
down. — Another  Bridge. — Entry  into  Mexico.— A  Bath. — A  Solitary  Church. 
— A  Scene  of  Barrenness.— Zapolouta. — Comitan. — Another  Countryman. — 
More  Perplexities.  —  Official  Courtesy.  —  Trade  of  Comitan.  —  Smuggling.  — 
Scarcity  of  Soap 240 


Parting.— Sotana. — A  Millionaire. — Ocosingo. — Ruins.— Beginning  of  the  Rainy 
Season.— A  Female  Guide.— Arrival  at  the  Ruins.— Stone  Figures.— Pyrami- 
dal Structures. — An  Arch.— A  Stucco  Ornament. — A  Wooden  Lintel. — A  cu- 
rious  Cave.  —  Buildings,  &c. —  A  Causeway.  —  More  Ruins.  —  Journey  to  Pa- 
lenque. — Rio  Grande. — Cascades. — Succession  of  Villages. — A  Maniac. — The 
Yahalon.— Tumbala. — A  wild  Place. — A  Scene  of  Grandeur  and  Sublimity. — 
Indian  Carriers.— A  steep  Mountain. — San  Pedro 255 


A  wild  Country. — Ascent  of  a  Mountain.— Ride  in  a  Silla. — A  precarious  Situa- 
tion.— The  Descent. — Rancho  of  Nopa. — Attacks  of  Moschetoes. — Approach 
to  Palenque. — Pasture  Grounds. — Village  of  Palenque. — A  crusty  Official.— A 


courteous  Reception. — Scarcity  of  Provisions. — Sunday. — Cholera. — Another 
Countryman. — The  Conversion,  Apostacy,  and  Recovery  of  the  Indians. — River 
Chacamal. — The  Caribs. — Ruins  of  Palenque 273 


Preparations  for  visiting  the  Ruins.  —  A  Turn-out.  —  Departure. — The  Road. — 
Rivers  Micol  and  Otula.— Arrival  at  the  Ruins. — The  Palace. — A  Feu-de-joie. 
— Quarters  in  the  Palace. — Inscriptions  by  former  Visitors. — The  Fate  of 
Beanham.— Discovery  of  the  Ruins  of  Palenque. — Visit  of  Del  Rio. — Expe- 
dition of  Dupaix.— Drawings  of  the  present  Work. — First  Dinner  at  the  Ru- 
ins.— Mammoth  Fireflies. — Sleeping  Apartments. — Extent  of  the  Ruins. — Ob- 
stacles to  Exploration. — Suffering  from  Moschetoes  .....  28& 


Precautions  against  the  Attacks  of  Moschetoes. — Mode  of  Life  at  Palenque.— 
Description  of  the  Palace. —  Piers. —  Hieroglyphics. —  Figures. —  Doorways.-— 
Corridors. — Courtyards. — A  wooden  Relic. — Stone  Steps. — Towers. — Tablets. 
— Stucco  Ornaments,  &c.,  &c. — The  Royal  Chapel. — Explorations. — An  Aque- 
duct. — An  Alarm.— Insects. — Effect  of  Insect  Stings.— Return  to  the  Village 
of  Palenque 303 


A  Voice  from  the  Ruins. — Buying  Bread. — Arrival  of  Padres. — Cura  of  Palenque. 
— Card  Playing. — Sunday. — Mass. — A  Dinner  Party. — Mementoes  of  Home. — 
Dinner  Customs. — Return  to  the  Ruins. — A  marked  Change. — Terrific  Thun- 
der.— A  Whirlwind.— A  Scene  of  the  Sublime  and  Terrible  .  .  .  325 


Plan  of  the  Ruins.— Pyramidal  Structure. — A  Building. — Stucco  Ornaments.— 
Human  Figures. — Tablets.— Remarkable  Hieroglyphics. — Range  of  Pillars.— 
Stone  Terrace. — Another  Building. — A  large  Tablet. — A  Cross. — Conjectures 
in  regard  to  this  Cross. — Beautiful  Sculpture. — A  Platform. — Curious  De- 
yices. — A  Statue. — Another  Pyramidal  Structure,  surmounted  by  a  Building. — 
Corridors. — A  curious  Bas-relief.— Stone  Tablets,  with  Figures  in  Bas-relief. — 
Tablets  and  Figures. — The  Oratorio. — More  Pyramidal  Structures  and  Build- 
ings.— Extent  of  the  Ruins. — These  Ruins  the  Remains  of  a  polished  and  pe- 
culiar People. — Antiquity  of  Palenque 337 


Departure  from  the  Ruins.— Bad  Road. — An  Accident. — Arrival  at  the  Village. 
— A  Funeral  Procession.— Negotiations  for  Purchasing  Palenque.— Making 
Casts. — Final  Departure  from  Palenque. — Beautiful  Plain. — Hanging  Birds'- 
nests.— A  Sitio. — Adventure  with  a  monstrous  Ape. — Hospitality  of  Padres. — 
Las  Playas. — A  Tempest. — Moschetoes. — A  Youthful  Merchant. — Alligators. 
— Another  Funeral.— Disgusting  Ceremonials  .......  358 



Embarcation. — An  inundated  Plain.— Rio  Chico. — The  Usumasinta. — Ric  Pal- 
isada. — Yucatan. — More  Revolutions. — Vespers. — Embarcation  for  the  Laguna. 
— Shooting  Alligators. — Tremendous  Storm. — Boca  Chico. — Lake  of  Terminos. 
—A  Cairn,  succeeded  by  a  Tempest.— Arrival  at  the  Laguna  .  .  Page  374 


Laguna. — Journey  to  Merida. — Sisal.— A  new  Mode  of  Conveyance. — Village  of 
Hunucama. — Arrival  at  Merida. — Aspect  of  the  City. — Fe*te  of  Corpus  Dom- 
ini.— The  Cathedral.— The  Procession. — Beauty  and  Simplicity  of  the  Indian 
Women.— Palace  of  the  Bishop. — The  Theatre.— Journey  to  Uxmal. — Ha- 
cienda of  Vayalquex. — Value  of  Water.— Condition  of  the  Indians  in  Yucatan. 
—A  peculiar  kind  of  Coach.— Hacienda  of  Mucuyche. — A  beautiful  Grotto  391 


Journey  resumed. — Arrival  at  Uxmal.— Hacienda  of  Uxmal.  —  Major-domos. — 
Adventures  of  a  young  Spaniard.— Visit  to  the  Ruins  of  Uxmal. — First  Sight 
of  the  Ruins. — Character  of  the  Indians. — Details  of  Hacienda  Life. — A  delicate 
Case. — Illness  of  Mr.  Catherwood. — Breaking  up 410 


Ruins  of  Uxmal.— A  lofty  Building.— Magnificent  View  from  its  Doorway. — Pe- 
culiar sculptured  Ornaments. — Another  Building,  called  by  the  Indians  the 
House  of  the  Dwarf. — An  Indian  Legend. — The  House  of  the  Nuns. — The 
House  of  Turtles. — The  House  of  Pigeons.— The  Guard-house. — Absence  of 
Water. — The  House  of  the  Governor. — Terraces. —  Wooden  Lintels. — Details 
of  the  House  of  the  Governor. — Doorways. — Corridors. — A  Beam  of  Wood,  in- 
scribed with  Hieroglyphics. — Sculptured  Stones,  &c 420 


Exploration  finished. — Who  built  these  ruined  Cities? — Opinion  of  Dupaix. — 
These  Ruins  bear  no  Resemblance  to  the  Architecture  of  Greece  and  Rome. — 
Nothing  like  them  in  Europe. — Do  not  Resemble  the  known  Works  of  Japan 
and  China. — Neither  those  of  Hindu.— No  Excavations  found. — The  Pyramids 
of  Egypt,  in  their  original  State,  do  not  resemble  what  are  called  the  Pyramids 
of  America. — The  Temples  of  Egypt  not  like  those  of  America.— Sculpture  not 
the  same  as  that  of  Egypt. — Probable  Antiquity  of  these  Ruins. — Accounts  of 
the  Spanish  Historians. — These  Cities  probably  built  by  the  Races  inhabiting  the 
Country  at  the  time  of  the  Spanish  Conquest. — These  Races  not  yet  extinct  436 


Journey  to  Merida. — Village  of  Moona. — A  Pond  of  Water,  a  Curiosity. — Aboula. 
— Indian  Runners. — Merida. — Departure. — Hunucama. — Siege  of  Campeachy. 
— Embarcation  for  Havana. — Incidents  of  the  Passage. — Fourth  of  July  at  Sea. 
— Shark-fishing. — Getting  lost  at  Sea. — Relieved  by  the  Helen  Maria. — Pas- 
sage to  New-York.— Arrival.— Conclusion 458 



Stone  Tablet .... Frontispiece. 

Idol  at  Quirigua . . .. ............. 121 

Idol  at  Quirigua 122 

Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche" 171 

Place  of  Sacrifice 184 

Figures  found  at  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche1 185 

Plaza  of  Quezaltenango ........... 204 

Vases  found  at  Gueguetenango 231 

Ocosingo ... .......... 259 

Palace  at  Palenque 309 

Plan  of  Palace 310 

Stucco  Figure  on  Pier 311 

Front  Corridor  of  Palace ,  313 

No.  1,  Courtyard  of  Palace 314 

No.  2.  Colossal  Bas-reliefs  in  Stone 314 

East  Side  of  Courtyard 316 

No.  1,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco ... _. 310 

No.  2,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco 31.6 

No.  3,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco 316 

Oval  Bas-relief  in  Stone 318 

Bas-relief  in  Stucco _ 319 

General  Plan  of  Palenque 337 

CasaNo.  1  in  Ruins 338 

CasaNo.  1  restored 339 

No.  1,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco 340 

No.  2,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco , 340 

No.  3,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco 340 

No.  4,  Bas-relief  in  Stucco 340 

No.  1,  Tablet  of  Hieroglyphics 342 

No.  2,  Tablet  of  Hieroglyphics 342 

Tablet  on  inner  Wall 343 

Casa  di  Piedras  No.  2 344 

Tablet  on  back  Wall  of  Altar,  CasaNo.  2 345 

Stone  Statue .... 349 

CasaNo.3.. 350 



Front  Corridor . .-.- ..  351 

No.  1,  Bas-reliefs  in  Front  of  Altar 353 

No.  2,  Bas-reliefs  in  Front  of  Altar 353 

Adoratorio  or  Altar 354 

Casa  No.  4 355 

Houseof  the  Dwarf 420 

Casa  del  Gobcrnador —  428 

Sculptured  Front  of  Casa  del  Gobernador. ............ ............  434 

Egyptian  Hieroglyphics 441 

Top  of  Altar  at  Copan _ 454 

Mexican  Hieroglyphical  Writing 454 





Visit  to  the  Volcano  of  Masaya. — Village  of  Masaya. — Lake  of  Masaya. — Nindi- 
it— Ascent  of  the  Volcano.— Account  of  it.— The  Crater.— Descent  into  it.— 
Volcano  of  Nindiri. — Ignorance  of  the  People  concerning  Objects  of  Interest.— 
Return  to  Masaya. — Another  Countryman. — Managua. — Lake  of  Managua.— 
Fishing. — Beautiful  Scenery. — Mateares. — Questa  del  Reloz. — Nagarotis. — 
Crosses. — A  Gamekeeper. — Pueblo  Nuevo. 

MARCH  1.  Anxious  as  I  was  to  hurry  on,  I  resolved 
nevertheless  to  give  one  day  to  the  Volcano  of  Masaya. 
For  this  purpose  I  sent  a  courier  ahead  to  procure  me 
a  guide  up  the  volcano,  and  did  not  get  off  till  eleven 
o'clock.  At  a  short  distance  from  the  city  we  met  a 
little  negro  on  horseback,  dressed  in  the  black  suit  that 
nature  made  him,  with  two  large  plantain  leaves  sewed 
together  for  a  hat,  and  plantain  leaves  for  a  saddle. 
At  the  distance  of  two  leagues  we  came  in  sight  of  the 
volcano,  and  at  four  o'clock,  after  a  hot  ride,  entered 
the  town,  one  of  the  oldest  and  largest  in  Nicaragua, 
and  though  completely  inland,  containing,  with  its  sub- 
urbs, a  population  of  twenty  thousand.  We  rode  to 
the  house  of  Don  Sabino  Satroon,  who  lay,  with  his 
mouth  open,  snoring  in  a  hammock;  but  his  wife,  a 
pretty  young  half-blood,  received  me  cordially,  and 
with  a  proper  regard  for  the  infirmities  of  an  old  hus- 
band and  for  me,  did  not  wake  him  up.  All  at  once 


he  shut  his  mouth  and  opened  his  eyes,  and  gave  me  a 
cordial  welcome.  Don  Sabino  was  a  Colombian,  who 
had  been  banished  for  ten  years,  as  he  said,  for  services 
rendered  his  country;  and  having  found  his  way  to 
Masaya,  had  married  the  pretty  young  half-breed,  and 
set  up  as  a  doctor.  Inside  the  door,  behind  a  little  stock 
of  sugar,  rice,  sausages,  and  chocolate,  was  a  formidable 
array  of  jars  and  bottles,  exhibiting  as  many  colours  and 
as  puzzling  labels  as  an  apothecary's  shop  at  home. 

I  had  time  to  take  a  short  walk  around  the  town,  and 
turning  down  the  road,  at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile 
came  to  the  brink  of  a  precipice,  more  than  a  hundred 
feet  high,  at  the  foot  of  which,  and  a  short  distance  be- 
yond, was  the  Lake  of  Masaya.  The  descent  was  al- 
most perpendicular,  in  one  place  by  a  rough  ladder,  and 
then  by  steps  cut  in  the  rock.  I  was  obliged  to  stop 
while  fifteen  or  twenty  women,  most  of  them  young  girls, 
passed.  Their  water-jars  were  made  of  the  shell  of  a 
large  gourd,  round,  with  fanciful  figures  scratched  on 
them,  and  painted  or  glazed,  supported  on  the  back  by 
a  strap  across  the  forehead,  and  secured  by  fine  net- 
work. Below  they  were  chattering  gayly,  but  by  the 
time  they  reached  the  place  where  I  stood  they  were 
silent,  their  movements  very  slow,  their  breathing  hard, 
and  faces  covered  with  profuse  perspiration.  This  was 
a  great  part  of  the  daily  labour  of  the  women  of  the 
place,  and  in  this  way  they  procured  enough  for  domes- 
tic use  ;  but  every  horse,  mule,  or  cow  was  obliged  to  go 
b^  a  circuitous  road  of  more  than  a  league  for  water. 
Why  a  large  town  has  grown  up  and  been  continued  so 
far  from  this  element  of  life,  I  do  not  know.  The  Span- 
iards found  it  a  large  Indian  village,  and  as  they  immedi- 
ately made  the  owners  of  the  soil  their  drawers  of  water, 
they  did  not  feel  the  burden ;  nor  do  their  descendants 

VOLCANO      OF     MASAY  A. 

In  the  mean  time  my  guide  arrived,  who,  to  my  great 
satisfaction,  was  no  less  a  personage  than  the  alcalde 
himself.  The  arrangements  were  soon  made,  and  I  was 
to  join  him  the  next  morning  at  his  house  in  Nindiri.  I 
gave  my  mules  and  Nicolas  a  day's  rest,  and  started  on 
Don  Sabino's  horse,  with  a  boy  to  act  as  guide  and  to 
carry  a  pair  of  alforgas  with  provisions.  In  half  an  hour 
I  reached  Nindiri,  having  met  more  people  than  on  my 
whole  road  from  San  Jose  to  Nicaragua.  The  alcalde 
was  ready,  and  in  company  with  an  assistant,  who  carried 
a  pair  of  alforgas  with  provisions  and  a  calabash  of  water, 
all  mounted,  we  set  out.  At  the  distance  of  half  a  league 
we  left  the  main  road,  and  turned  off  on  a  small  path  in 
the  woods  on  the  left.  We  emerged  from  this  into  an 
open  field  covered  with  lava,  extending  to  the  base  of  the 
volcano  in  front  and  on  each  side  as  far  as  I  could  see, 
black,  several  feet  deep,  and  in  some  places  lying  in 
high  ridges.  A  faint  track  was  beaten  by  cattle  over 
this  plain  of  lava.  In  front  were  two  volcanoes,  from 
both  of  which  streams  of  lava  had  run  down  the  sides 
into  the  plain.  That  directly  in  front  my  guide  said  was 
the  Volcano  of  Masaya.  In  that  on  the  right,  and  far- 
thest from  us,  the  crater  was  broken,  and  the  great 
chasm  inside  was  visible.  This  he  said  was  called  Ven- 
tero,  a  name  I  never  heard  before,  and  that  it  was  in- 
accessible. Hiding  toward  that  in  front,  and  crossing 
the  field  of  lava,  we  reached  the  foot  of  the  volcano. 
Here  the  grass  was  high,  but  the  ground  was  rough  and 
uneven,  being  covered  with  decomposed  lava.  We  as- 
cended on  horseback  until  it  became  too  steep  for  the 
horses  to  carry  us,  and  then  dismounted,  tied  them  to  a 
bush,  and  continued  on  foot.  I  was  already  uneasy  as 
to  my  guides'  knowledge  of  localities,  and  soon  found 
that  they  were  unwilling  or  unable  to  endure  much  fa- 

VOL.  IL—  B 


tigue.  Before  we  were  half  way  up  they  disencumber- 
ed themselves  of  the  water-jar  and  provisions,  and  yet 
they  lagged  behind.  The  alcalde  was  a  man  about 
forty,  who  rode  his  own  horse,  and  being  a  man  of  con- 
sequence in  the  town,  I  could  not  order  him  to  go  fast- 
er ;  his  associate  was  some  ten  years  older,  and  physi- 
cally incapable  ;  and  seeing  that  they  did  not  know  any 
particular  path,  I  left  them  and  went  on  alone. 

At  eleven  o'clock,  or  three  hours  from  the  village  of 
Nindiri,  I  reached  the  high  point  at  which  we  were 
aiming ;  and  from  this  point  I  expected  to  look  down 
into  the  crater  of  the  volcano  ;  but  there  was  no  crater, 
and  the  whole  surface  was  covered  with  gigantic  mass- 
es of  lava,  and  overgrown  with  bushes  and  scrub  trees. 
I  waited  till  my  guides  came  up,  who  told  me  that  this 
was  the  Volcano  of  Masaya,  and  that  there  was  nothing 
more  to  see.  The^alcalde  insisted  that  two  years  before 
he  had  ascended  with  the  cura,  since  deceased,  and  a 
party  of  villagers,  and  they  all  stopped  at  this  place.  I 
was  disappointed  and  dissatisfied.  Directly  opposite 
rose  a  high  peak,  which  I  thought,  from  its  position, 
must  command  a  view  of  the  crater  of  the  other  volca- 
no. I  attempted  to  reach  it  by  passing  round  the  cir- 
cumference of  the  mountain,  but  was  obstructed  by  an 
immense  chasm,  and  returning,  struck  directly  across. 
I  had  no  idea  what  I  was  attempting.  The  whole  was 
covered  with  lava  lying  in  ridges  and  irregular  masses, 
the  surface  varying  at  every  step,  and  overgrown  with 
trees  and  bushes.  After  an  hour  of  the  hardest  work  I 
ever  had  in  my  life,  I  reached  the  point  at  which  I  aim- 
ed, and,  to  my  astonishment,  instead  of  seeing  the  cra- 
ter of  the  distant  volcano,  I  was  on  the  brink  of  another. 

Among  the  recorded  wonders  of  the  discoveries  in 
America,  this  mountain  was  one ;  and  the  Spaniards, 


who  in  those  days  never  stopped  half  way  in  any  mat- 
ter that  touched  the  imagination,  called  it  El  Infierno 
de  Masaya,  or  the  Hell  of  Masaya.  The  historian,  in 
speaking  of  Nicaragua,  says,  "  There  are  burning  mount- 
ains in  this  province,  the  chief  of  which  is  Masaya, 
where  the  natives  at  certain  times  offered  up  maids, 
throwing  them  into  it,  thinking  by  their  lives  to  appease 
the  fire,  that  it  might  not  destroy  the  country,  and  they 
went  to  it  very  chearful ;"  and  in  another  place  he 
says,  "  Three  leagues  from  the  city  of  Masaya  is  a  small 
hill,  flat  and  round,  called  Masaya,  being  a  burning 
Mountain,  the  Mouth  of  it  being  half  a  League  in  Com- 
pass, and  the  Depth  within  it  two  hundred  and  fifty 
Fathoms.  There  are  no  Trees  nor  Grass,  but  Birds 
build  without  any  Disturbance  from  the  Fire.  There 
is  another  Mouth  like  that  of  a  Well  about  a  Bowshot 
over,  the  distance  from  which  to  the  Fire  is  about  a 
hundred  and  fifty  Fathoms,  always  boiling  up,  and  that 
mass  of  Fire  often  rises  and  gives  a  great  Light,  so 
that  it  can  be  seen  at  a  considerable  Distance.  It 
moves  from  one  Side  to  the  other,  and  sometimes  roars 
so  loud  that  it  is  dreadful,  yet  never  casts  up  any- 
thing but  Smoak  and  Flame.  The  Liquor  never  ceas- 
ing at  the  Bottom,  nor  its  Boiling,  imagining  the  same 
to  be  Gold,  F.  Blase  de  Yniesta,  of  the  Order  of  St. 
Dominick,  and  two  other  Spaniards,  were  let  down  into 
the  first  Mouth  in  two  Baskets,  with  a  Bucket  made  of 
one  Piece  of  Iron,  and  a  long  Chain  to  draw  up  some  of 
that  fiery  Matter,  and  know  whether  it  was  Metal. 
The  Chain  ran  a  hundred  and  fifty  Fathoms,  and  as 
soon  as  it  came  to  the  Fire,  the  Bucket  melted,  with 
some  Links  of  the  Chain,  in  a  very  short  Time,  and 
therefore  they  could  not  know  what  was  below.  They 
lay  there  that  Night  without  any  Want  of  Fire  or  Can- 


dies,  and  came  out  again  in  their  Baskets  sufficiently 

Either  the  monk,  disappointed  in  his  search  for  gold, 
had  fibbed,  or  nature  had  made  one  of  its  most  extra- 
ordinary changes.  The  crater  was  about  a  mile  and  a 
half  in  circumference,  five  or  six  hundred  feet  deep, 
with  sides  slightly  sloping,  and  so  regular  in  its  propor- 
tions that  it  seemed  an  artificial  excavation.  The  bot- 
tom was  level,  both  sides  and  bottom  covered  with 
grass,  and  it  seemed  an  immense  conical  green  basin. 
There  were  none  of  the  fearful  marks  of  a  volcanic 
eruption;  nothing  to  terrify,  or  suggest  an  idea  of  el  in- 
fierno  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  it  was  a  scene  of  singular 
and  quiet  beauty.  I  descended  to  the  side  of  the  cra- 
ter, and  walked  along  the  edge,  looking  down  into  the 
area.  Toward  the  other  end  was  a  growth  of  arbolitos 
or  little  trees,  one  place  no  grass  grew,  and  the 
ground  was  black  and  loamy,  like  mud  drying  up. 
This  was  perhaps  the  mouth  of  the  mysterious  well 
that  sent  up  the  flame,  which  gave  its  light  a  "  consider- 
able distance,"  into  which  the  Indian  maidens  were 
thrown,  and  which  melted  the  monk's  iron  bucket. 
Like  him,  I  felt  curious  to  "know  what  was  below;" 
but  the  sides  of  the  crater  were  perpendicular.  Entirely 
alone,  and  with  an  hour's  very  hard  work  between  me 
and  my  guides,  I  hesitated  about  making  any  attempt  to 
descend,  but  I  disliked  to  return  without.  In  one  place, 
and  near  the  black  earth,  the  side  was  broken,  and 
there  were  some  bushes  and  scrub  trees.  I  planted  my 
gun  against  a  stone,  tied  my  handkerchief  around  it  as 
a  signal  of  my  whereabout,  and  very  soon  was  below 
the  level  of  the  ground.  Letting  myself  down  by  the 
aid  of  roots,  bushes,  and  projecting  stones,  I  descended 
to  a  scrub  tree  which  grew  out  of  the  side  about  half 


way  from  the  bottom,  and  below  this  it  was  a  naked  and 
perpendicular  wall.  It  was  impossible  to  go  any  farther. 
I  was  even  obliged  to  keep  on  the  upper  side  of  the  tree, 
and  here  I  was  more  anxious  than  ever  to  reach  the  bot- 
tom ;  but  it  was  of  no  use.  Hanging  midway,  impressed 
with  the  solitude  and  the  extraordinary  features  of  a  scene 
upon  which  so  few  human  eyes  have  ever  rested,  and 
the  power  of  the  great  Architect  who  has  scattered  his 
wonderful  works  over  the  whole  face  of  the  earth,  I 
could  not  but  reflect,  what  a  waste  of  the  bounties  of 
Providence  in  this  favoured  but  miserable  land  !  At 
home  this  volcano  would  be  a  fortune  ;  with  a  good 
hotel  on  top,  a  railing  round  to  keep  children  from  fall- 
ing in,  a  zigzag  staircase  down  the  sides,  and  a  glass  of 
iced  lemonade  at  the  bottom.  Cataracts  are  good 
property  with  people  who  know  how  to  turn  them  to 
account.  Niagara  and  Trenton  Falls  pay  well,  and 
the  owners  of  volcanoes  in  Central  America  might 
make  money  out  of  them  by  furnishing  facilities  to 
travellers.  This  one  could  probably  be  bought  for  ten 
dollars,  and  I  would  have  given  twice  that  sum  for  a 
rope  and  a  man  to  hold  it.  Meanwhile,  though  anx- 
ious to.  be  at  the  bottom,  I  was  casting  my  eyes  wist- 
fully to  the  top.  The  turning  of  an  ankle,  breaking  of 
a  branch,  rolling  of  a  stone,  or  a  failure  of  strength, 
might  put  me  where  I  should  have  been  as  hard  to  find 
as  the  government  of  Central  America.  I  commenced 
climbing  up,  slowly  and  with  care,  and  in  due  time 
hauled  myself  out  in  safety. 

On  my  right  was  a  full  view  of  the  broken  crater  of 
the  Volcano  t>f  Nindiri.  The  side  toward  me  was 
hurled  down,  and  showed  the  whole  interior  of  the  cra- 
ter. This  the  alcalde  had  declared  inaccessible ;  and 
partly  from  sheer  spite  against  him,  I  worked  my  way 



to  it  with  extreme  labour  and  difficulty.  At  length,  after 
five  hours  of  most  severe  toil  among  the  rugged  heaps 
of  lava,  I  descended  to  the  place  where  we  had  left  our 
provisions.  Here  I  seized  the  calabash  of  water,  and 
stood  for  several  minutes  with  my  face  turned  up  to  the 
skies,  and  then  I  began  upon  the  alcalde  and  the  eata- 
bles. Both  he  and  his  companion  expressed  their  utter 
astonishment  at  what  I  described,  and  persisted  in  saying 
that  they  did  not  know  of  the  existence  of  such  a  place. 

I  dwell  upon  this  matter  for  the  benefit  of  any  future 
traveller  who  may  go  out  competent  and  prepared  to 
explore  the  interesting  volcanic  regions  of  Central 
America.  Throughout  my  journey  my  labours  were 
much  increased  by  the  ignorance  and  indifference  of 
the  people  concerning  the  objects  of  interest  in  their  im- 
mediate neighbourhood.  A  few  intelligent  and  educa- 
ted men  know  of  their  existence  as  part  of  the  history 
of  the  country,  but  I  never  met  one  who  had  visited  the 
Volcano  of  Masaya ;  and  in  the  village  at  its  foot  the 
traveller  will  not  obtain  even  the  scanty  information  af- 
forded in  these  pages.  The  alcalde  was  born  near  this 
volcano ;  from  boyhood  had  hunted  stray  cattle  on  its 
side,  and  told  me  that  he  knew  every  foot  of  the  ground ; 
yet  he  stopped  me  short  of  the  only  object  of  interest, 
ignorant,  as  he  said,  of  its  existence.  Now  either  the 
alcalde  lied,  and  was  too  lazy  to  encounter  the  toil  which 
I  had  undergone,  or  he  was  imposing  upon  me.  In  ei- 
ther case  he  deserves  a  flogging,  and  I  beg  the  next 
traveller,  as  a  particular  favour  to  me,  to  give  him  one. 

I  was  too  indignant  with  the  alcalde  to  have  anything 
farther  to  do  with  him  ;  and  bent  upon  making  another 
attempt,  on  my  return  to  the  village  I  rode  to  the  house 
of  the  cura,  to  obtain  his  assistance  in  procuring  men 
and  making  other  needful  preparations.  On  the  steps 


of  the  back  piazza  I  saw  a  young  negro  man,  in  a  black 
gown  and  cap,  sitting  by  the  side  of  a  good-looking, 
well-dressed  white  woman,  and,  if  I  mistake  not,  dis- 
coursing to  her  of  other  things  than  those  connected  with 
his  priestly  duties.  His  black  reverence  was  by  no 
means  happy  to  see  me.  I  asked  him  if  I  could  make 
an  inn  of  his  house,  which,  though  it  sounds  somewhat 
free,  is  the  set  phrase  for  a  traveller  to  use  ;  and,  without 
rising  from  his  seat,  he  said  his  house  was  small  and  in- 
commodious, and  that  the  alcalde  had  a  good  one.  He 
was  the  first  black  priest  I  had  seen,  and  the  only  one 
in  the  country  who  failed  in  hospitality.  I  must  confess 
that  I  felt  a  strong  impulse  to  lay  the  butt  of  a  pistol  over 
his  head ;  and  spurring  my  horse  so  that  he  sprang  al- 
most upon  him,  I  wheeled  short  and  galloped  out  of  the 
yard.  With  the  alcalde  and  cura  both  against  me,  I  had 
no  chance  in  the  village.  It  was  nearly  dark,  and  I  re- 
turned to  Masaya.  My  vexation  was  lost  in  a  sense  of 
overpowering  fatigue.  It  would  be  impossible  to  repeat 
the  severe  labour  of  the  day  without  an  interval  of  rest, 
and  tnere  was  so  much  difficulty  in  making  arrange- 
ments, that  I  determined  to  mount  my  macho  and 
push  on. 

The  next  morning  I  resumed  my  journey.  My  mules 
had  not  been  watered.  To  send  them  to  the  lake  and 
back  would  give  them  a  journey  of  two  leagues ;  and 
to  save  them  I  bought  water,  which  was  measured  out 
in  a  gourd  holding  about  a  quart.  At  about  a  league's 
distance  we  came  in  sight  of  the  Lake  of  Managua,  and 
before  us  the  whole  country  was  a  bed  of  lava  from  the 
base  of  the  volcano  to  the  lake.  I  met  a  travelling  par- 
ty, the  principal  of  which  I  recognised  as  a  stranger. 
We  had  passed,  when  I  turned  round  and  accosted  him 
in  English ;  and  after  looking  at  me  for  a  minute,  to 


my  great  surprise  he  called  me  by  name.  He  was  an 
American  named  Higgins,  whom  I  had  seen  last  at  my 
own  office  in  New- York.  He  was  coming  from  Real- 
ejo,  and  was  on  his  way  to  San  Juan,  with  the  intention 
of  embarking  for  the  United  States.  We  sent  our  lug- 
gage on  and  dismounted  ;  and  besides  the  pleasure  of 
the  meeting,  I  am  under  great  obligation  to  him,  for  I 
was  riding  at  the  time  on  an  alvardo,  or  common  sad- 
dle of  the  country,  very  painful  for  one  not  used  to  it. 
My  own  saddle  hurt  my  macho ;  and  as  his  journey 
was  nearly  at  an  end,  he  gave  me  his  in  exchange,  which 
I  rode  on  afterward  till  I  left  it  on  the  shores  of  Yuca- 
tan. He  gave  me,  too,  a  line  in  pencil  to  a  lady  in 
Leon,  and  I  charged  him  with  messages  to  my  friends 
at  home.  When  he  rode  off  I  almost  envied  him ;  he 
was  leaving  behind  him  tumults  and  convulsions,  and 
was  going  to  a  cfuiet  home,  but  I  had  still  a  long  and 
difficult  journey  before  me. 

In  about  three  hours,  after  a  desperately  hot  ride,  we 
reached  Managua,  beautifully  situated  on  the  banks  of 
the  lake.  Entering  through  a  collection  of  thatched 
huts,  we  passed  a  large  aristocratic  house,  with  a  court- 
yard occupying  a  whole  square,  the  mansion  of  an  ex- 
patriated family,  decaying  and  going  to  ruin. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  I  walked  down  to  the  lake. 
It  was  not  so  grand  as  the  Lake  of  Nicaragua,  but  it 
was  a  noble  sheet  of  water,  and  in  full  sight  was  the 
Volcano  of  Momontanbo.  The  shore  presented  the 
same  animated  spectacle  of  women  filling  their  water- 
jars,  men  bathing,  horses  and  mules  drinking,  and  in 
one  place  was  a  range  of  fishermen's  huts  ;  on  the  edge 
of  the  water  stakes  were  set  up  in  a  triangular  form, 
and  women  with  small  hand-nets  were  catching  fish, 
which  they  threw  into  hollow  places  dug,  or  rather 

LAKE     OP     MANAGUA.  17 

scraped,  in  the  sand.  The  fish  were  called  sardinitos, 
and  at  the  door  of  the  huts  the  men  were  building  fires 
to  cook  them.  The  beauty  of  this  scene  was  enhanced 
by  the  reflection  that  it  underwent  no  change.  Here 
was  perpetual  summer ;  no  winter  ever  came  to  drive 
the  inhabitants  shivering  to  their  fires  ;  but  still  it  may 
be  questioned  whether,  with  the  same  scenery  and  cli- 
mate, wants  few  and  easily  supplied,  luxuriating  in  the 
open  air,  and  by  the  side  of  this  lovely  lake,  even  the 
descendants  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  race  would  not  lose 
their  energy  and  industry. 

This  lake  empties  into  the  Lake  of  Nicaragua  by  means 
of  the  River  Tipitapa,  and  another  communication  be- 
tween the  two  seas  has  been  spoken  of  by  means  of  a 
canal  from  it  to  the  Pacific  at  the  port  of  Realejo.  The 
ground  is  perfectly  level,  and  the  port  is  perhaps  the 
best  in  Spanish  America ;  but  the  distance  is  sixty 
miles,  and  there  are  other  difficulties  which  it  seems  to 
me  are  insuperable.  The  River  Tipitapa  has  been  rep- 
resented as  navigable  the  whole  length  for  the  largest 
ships ;  but  no  survey  was  ever  made  until  Mr.  Bailey's, 
according  to  which  it  is  thirty  miles  in  length.  Begin- 
ing  at  the  Lake  of  Nicaragua,  for  twenty-four  miles  the 
water  is  from  one  to  three  fathoms  in  depth.  Above 
this  there  are  rapids,  and  at  the  distance  of  four  and  a 
half  miles  a  fall  of  thirteen  feet.  The  whole  rise  within 
the  six  miles  is  twenty- eight  feet  eight  inches.  The 
Lake  of  Managua,  from  observation  and  information 
without  survey,  is  about  fifteen  leagues  long  and  thirty- 
five  in  circumference,  and  averages  ten  fathoms  of  wa- 
ter. There  is  not  a  single  stream  on  the  contemplated 
line  of  canal  from  this  lake  to  the  Pacific,  and  it  would 
be  necessary  for  this  lake  to  furnish  the  whole  supply 
of  water  for  communication  with  both  oceans. 

VOL.  II.— C 


At  three  o'clock  the  next  morning  we  started.  In 
all  the  tierras  calientes  it  is  the  custom  to  travel  at 
night,  or,  rather,  very  early  in  the  morning.  At  eight 
o'clock  we  entered  the  village  of  Mateares,  where  we 
procured  some  eggs  and  breakfasted.  From  this  village 
our  road  lay  directly  along  the  lake,  but  a  few  paces 
from  the  shore,  and  shaded  by  noble  trees.  Unfortu- 
nately, we  were  obliged  to  turn  off  to  avoid  a  large 
rock  which  had  rolled  down  several  months  before,  and 
probably  blocks  up  the  road  still ;  this  brought  us  round 
by  the  Questa  del  Relox,  so  called  from  a  venerable 
sundial  which  stands  on  one  side  of  the  road,  of  a  dark 
gray  stone,  with  an  inscription  in  Castilian,  but  the 
characters  so  worn  and  indistinct  that  I  could  not  make 
them  out.  It  has  no  history  except  that  it  was  erected 
by  the  conquerors,  and  it  stands  as  an  indication  of  the 
works  with  which  the  Spaniards  began  the  settlement 
of  the  country. 

At  half  past  eleven  we  left  the  lake  for  the  last  tune, 
and  entered  an  open  plain.  We  rode  an  hour  longer, 
and  reached  Nagarotis,  a  miserable  village,  its  houses 
built  partly  of  mud,  with  yards  in  front,  trodden  bare 
by  mules,  and  baked  white  by  the  sun.  I  entered  one 
of  the  houses  for  shelter,  and  found  in  it  a  young  negro 
priest  on  his  way  to  Carthagena,  with  orders  from  the 
Church  at  Leon.  The  house  was  occupied  by  an  old 
man  alone.  It  had  a  bedstead  with  a  mat  over  it,  upon 
which  I  lay  down,  glad  to  rest  a  while,  and  to  escape 
the  scorching  heat.  Opposite  the  bed  was  a  rude  frame 
about  six  feet  high,  on  the  top  of  which  was  a  sort  of 
babyhouse,  with  the  figure  of  the  Virgin  sitting  on  a 
chair,  and  dressed  in  cheap  finery. 

At  three  we  started  again.  The  sun  had  lost  some 
of  its  force,  the  road  was  wooded,  and  I  observed  more 


than  the  usual  number  of  crosses.  The  people  of  Nic- 
aragua are  said  to  be  the  worst  in  the  republic.  The 
inhabitants  of  the  other  states  always  caution  a  stran- 
ger against  them,  and  they  are  proportionally  devout. 
Everywhere,  in  the  cities  and  country,  on  the  tops  of 
mountains,  and  by  the  side  of  rivers,  these  memorials 
stared  me  in  the  face.  I  noticed  one  in  a  cleared  place 
by  the  roadside,  painted  black,  with  a  black  board  sus- 
pended to  it,  containing  an  inscription  in  faded  white 
letters ;  it  had  been  erected  to  the  memory  of  a  padre 
who  had  been  murdered  and  buried  at  its  foot.  I  stop- 
ped to  copy  the  inscription,  and  while  so  engaged  saw 
a  travelling  party  approaching,  and  knowing  the  jeal- 
ousy of  the  people,  shut  my  notebook  and  rode  on. 
The  party  consisted  of  two  men,  with  their  servants, 
and  a  woman.  The  younger  man  accosted  me,  and 
said  that  he  had  seen  me  at  Grenada,  and  regretted 
that  he  had  not  known  of  my  proposed  journey.  From 
the  style  of  his  dress  and  equipments  I  supposed  him 
to  be  a  gentleman,  and  was  sure  of  it  from  the  circum- 
stance of  his  carrying  a  gamecock  under  his  arm.  As 
we  rode  on  the  conversation  turned  upon  these  interest- 
ing birds,  and  I  learned  that  my  new  acquaintance  was 
going  to  Leon  to  fight  a  match,  of  which  he  offered  to 
give  me  notice.  The  bird  which  he  carried  had  won 
three  matches  in  Grenada ;  its  fame  had  reached  Leon, 
and  drawn  forth  a  challenge  from  that  place.  It  was 
rolled  up  as  carefully  as  a  fractured  leg,  with  nothing 
but  the  head  and  tail  visible ;  and  suspended  by  a  string, 
was  as  easily  carried  as  a  basket.  The  young  man 
sighed  over  the  miseries  of  the  country,  the  distress  and 
ruin  caused  by  the  wars,  and  represented  the  pit  at 
Grenada  as  being  in  a  deplorable  condition ;  but  in 
Leon  he  said  it  was  very  flourishing,  on  account  of  its 


being  the  headquarters  of  the  military.  The  building, 
too,  did  honour  to  the  city ;  it  was  only  open  on  Sun- 
days ;  but  he  knew  the  proprietor,  and  could  at  any 
time  make  an  arrangement  for  a  match.  He  made 
many  inquiries  about  the  state  of  the  science  in  my 
country  ;  told  me  that  he  had  imported  two  cocks  from 
England,  which  were  game  enough,  but  not  sufficiently 
heavy  for  theirs  ;  and  gave  me,  besides,  much  valuable 
information  on  this  subject,  of  which  I  neglected  to 
make  any  memorandum. 

Before  dark  we  reached  Pueblo  Nuevo,  and  all  went 
to  the  same  posada.  His  companion  was  not  so  much 
of  a  sportsman,  though  he  knew  the  qualities  of  a  good 
bird,  and  showed  a  familiarity  in  handling  them.  It 
was  the  first  time  I  had  fallen  in  with  travellers  for  the 
night.  I  have  avoided  details  in  all  places  where  I  was 
partaking  of  private  hospitality,  but  this  was  like  a  ho- 
tel at  home,  in  the  main  point  that  all  were  expected 
to  pay.  We  had  for  supper  poached  eggs  and  beans, 
without  plate,  knife,  fork,  or  spoon.  My  companions 
used  their  tortillas  to  take  up  an  egg,  and  also,  by  turn- 
ing up  the  edges,  to  scoop  out  frigoles  from  the  dish ; 
withal,  they  were  courteous  and  gentlemanly.  We  had 
a  species  of  chocolate,  made  of  pounded  cocoa  and 
sweetened,  and  served  in  hickories,  which,  having  bot- 
toms like  the  butts  of  large  eggs,  could  not  stand  on  the 
table.  My  companions  twisted  their  pocket-handker- 
chiefs, and  winding  them  on  the  table  in  circular  folds, 
set  the  hickories  inside  the  hollow,  and  one  of  them  did 
the  same  with  my  handkerchief  for  me.  After  supper 
the  younger  of  the  two  dressed  the  birds  in  their  robes 
de  nuit,  a  cotton  cloth  wound  tight  around  the  body, 
compressing  the  wings,  and  then,  with  a  string  fastened 
to  the  back  of  the  cloth,  so  that  the  body  was  balanced, 

A    NIGHT'S   LODGING.  21 

hooked  each  of  them  to  the  hammock.  While  he  was 
preparing  them  the  woman  was  showing  horn  combs, 
beads,  earrings,  and  rosaries,  and  entrapped  the  daugh- 
ter of  the  host  into  the  purchase  of  a  comb.  The  house 
had  an  unusual  influx  of  company.  The  young  man, 
the  female  merchant,  and  I  do  not  know  how  many  of 
the  family,  slept  in  a  back  room.  The  elder  traveller 
offered  me  the  hammock,  but  I  preferred  the  long  chest, 
made  from  the  trunk  of  a  tree,  which  in  every  house  in 
Nicaragua  served  as  a  sort  of  cupboard. 



Beautiful  Plain.— Leon.— Stroll  through  the  Town.— Baneful  Effects  of  Party 
Spirit.— Scenes  of  Horror. — Unpleasant  Intelligence. — Journey  continued. — 
A  fastidious  Beggar.— Chinandaga.— Gulf  of  Couchagua.— Visit  to  Realejo.— 
Cotton  Factory. — Harbour  of  Realejo. — El  Viejo. — Port  of  Nagoscolo. —  Im- 
portance of  a  Passport. — Embarking  Mules. — A  Bungo. — Volcano  of  Cosagui- 
na. — Eruption  of  1835. — La  Union. 

AT  two  o'clock  we  were  awakened  by  the  crowing  of 
the  cocks,  and  at  three  the  cargo-mules  were  loaded 
and  we  set  off.  The  road  was  level  and  wooded,  but 
desperately  dusty.  For  two  hours  after  daylight  we 
had  shade,  when  we  came  upon  an  open  plain,  bounded 
on  the  Pacific  side  by  a  low  ridge,  and  on  the  right  by 
a  high  range  of"  mountains,  forming  part  of  the  great 
chain  of  the  Cordilleras.  Before  us,  at  a  great  distance, 
rising  above  the  level  of  the  plain,  we  saw  the  spires  of 
the  Cathedral  of  Leon.  This  magnificent  plain,  in  rich- 
ness of  soil  not  surpassed  by  any  land  in  the  world,  lay 
as  desolate  as  when  the  Spaniards  first  traversed  it. 
The  dry  season  was  near  its  close  ;  for  four  months  there 
had  been  no  rain,  and  the  dust  hung  around  us  in  thick 
clouds,  hot  and  fine  as  the  sands  of  Egypt.  At  nine 
o'clock  we  reached  Leon,  and  I  parted  from  my  com- 
panions, but  not  without  a  courteous  invitation  from  the 
younger  to  take  up  my  rest  at  the  house  of  his  brother. 
The  suburbs  were  more  miserable  than  anything  I  had 
yet  seen.  Passing  up  a  long  street,  across  which  a  sen- 
tinel was  patrolling,  I  saw  in  front  of  the  quartel  a 
group  of  vagabond  soldiers,  a  match  for  Carrera's,  who 
cried  out  insolently,  "  Quittez  el  sombrero,"  "  Take  off 
your  hat."  I  had  to  traverse  the  whole  extent  of  the 


city  before  I  reached  the  house  to  which  I  had  been 
recommended.  I  dismounted,  and  entered  it  with  con- 
fidence of  a  warm  reception ;  but  the  lady,  with  consid- 
erable expedition,  told  me  that  her  husband  was  not  at 
home.  I  gave  her  a  note  with  which  I  had  been  fur- 
nished, addressed  to  herself;  but  she  said  she  could  not 
read  English,  and  handed  it  back.  I  translated  it  word 
for  word,  being  a  request  that  she  would  give  me  lodg- 
ings. Her  brow  actually  knit  with  vexation ;  and  she 
said  she  had  but  one  spare  room,  and  that  was  re- 
served for  the  English  vice-consul  from  Realejo.  I  an- 
swered that  the  vice-consul  did  not  intend  leaving  Re- 
alejo for  the  present.  She  asked  me  how  long  I  intend- 
ed to  stay ;  and  when  I  replied  only  that  night,  she 
said  that  if  such  was  the  case  I  might  remain.  The 
reader  will  perhaps  wonder  at  my  want  of  spirit ;  but 
the  fact  is,  I  was  loth  to  consider  any  incivility  person- 
al. My  only  alternative  was  to  seek  out  the  young 
man  whose  invitation  I  had  declined,  and  whose  name 
I  did  not  know,  or  to  ask  admission  from  door  to  door. 
It  is  said  that  women  are  governed  by  appearances, 
and  mine  was  not  very  seductive.  My  dress  was  the 
same  with  which  I  had  left  Grenada,  soiled  by  the  as- 
cent of  the  Volcano  of  Masaya,  and  now  covered  with 
dust.  Making  the  most  of  my  moderate  wardrobe,  on 
my  reappearance  I  was  more  favourably  received.  At 
least  I  had  a  capital  breakfast ;  and  as  it  was  very  hot, 
and  I  wanted  to  rest,  I  remained  in  doors  and  played 
with  the  children.  At  dinner  I  had  the  seat  of  honour 
at  the  head  of  the  table,  and  had  made  such  progress, 
that,  if  I  had  desired  it,  I  would  have  ventured  to  broach 
the  subject  of  remaining  another  day ;  and  I  owe  it  to 
the  lady  to  say,  that,  having  assented  to  my  remaining, 


she  treated  me  with  great  civility  and  attention,  and 
particularly  used  great  exertions  in  procuring  me  a 
guide  to  enable  me  to  set  out  the  next  day. 

After  dinner  Nicolas  came  to  my  room,  and  with 
uplifted  hands  cried  out  against  the  people  of  Leon, 
Gente  indecente,  sin  verguenza  (literally),  indecent  peo- 
ple, without  shame.  He  had  been  hooted  in  the  streets, 
and  had  heard  such  stories  of  the  state  of  the  country 
before  us  that  he  wanted  to  return  home.  I  was  ex- 
tremely loth  to  make  another  change,  and  particularly 
for  any  of  the  assassin-looking  scoundrels  whom  I  had 
seen  on  my  entry ;  but  I  did  not  like  the  responsibility 
of  taking  him  against  his  will,  and  told  him  that  if  he 
would  procure  me  two  honest  men  he  might  leave  me. 
I  had  advanced  him  more  than  was  due,  but  I  had  a 
security  against  his  deserting  me  in  his  apprehension 
of  being  taken  for  a  soldier. 

This  over,  I  walked  out  to  take  a  view  of  the  town. 
It  had  an  appearance  of  old  and  aristocratic  respecta- 
bility, which  no  other  city  in  Central  America  possess- 
ed. The  houses  were  large,  and  many  of  the  fronts 
were  full  of  stucco  ornaments  ;  the  plaza  was  spacious, 
and  the  squares  of  the  churches  and  the  churches  them- 
selves magnificent.  It  was  the  seat  of  a  bishopric,  and 
distinguished  for  the  costliness  of  its  churches  and  con- 
vents, its  seats  of  learning,  and  its  men  of  science,  down 
to  the  time  of  its  revolution  against  Spain  ;  but  in  walk- 
ing through  its  streets  I  saw  palaces  in  which  nobles 
had  lived  dismantled  and  roofless,  and  occupied  by 
half-starved  wretches,  pictures  of  misery  and  want ;  and 
on  one  side  an  immense  field  of  ruins,  covering  half  the 

Almost  immediately  on  the  establishment  of  inde- 


pendence,  and  the  drawing  of  the  great  party-lines  be- 
tween the  Centralists  and  Federalists,  the  State  of  Nic- 
aragua became  the  theatre  of  a  furious  struggle.     In  an 
unfortunate  hour  the  people  elected  a  Central  governor 
and  Liberal  vice-governor.     A  divided  administration 
led  to  drawing  of  blood  and  the  most  sanguinary  con- 
flict known  in  civil  wars.     Inch  by  inch  the  ground 
was  disputed,  till  the  whole  physical  force  and  deadly 
animosity  of  the  state  were  concentrated  in  the  capital. 
The  contending  parties  fought  up  to  the  very  heart  of 
the  city ;  the  streets  were  barricaded,  and  for  three 
months  not  a  person  could  pass  the  line  without  being 
shot  at.     Scenes  of  horror  surpassing  human  belief  are 
fresh  in  the  memory  of  the  inhabitants.     The  Liberals 
prevailed  ;  the  Central  chief  was  killed,  his  forces  mas- 
sacred, and  in  the  phrensy  of  the  moment,  the  part  of 
the  city  occupied  by  the  Centralists  was  burned  and 
razed  to  the  ground ;   besides  the  blood  of  murdered 
citizens,  the  tears  and  curses  of  widows  and  orphans, 
the  victors  had  the  rich  enjoyment  of  a  desolated  coun- 
try and  a  ruined  capital.     The  same  ruthless  spirit  still 
characterized  the  inhabitants  of  Leon.     The  heroes  of 
Taguzegalpa,  without  a  single  prisoner  as  a  monument 
of  mercy,  had  been  received  with  ringing  of  bells  and 
firing  of  cannon,  and  other  demonstrations  of  joy,  and 
they  were  still  in  the  city,  flushed  with  their  brutal  vic- 
tory, and  anxious  to  be  led  on  to  more  such  triumphs. 

I  must  confess  that  I  felt  a  degree  of  uneasiness  in 
walking  the  streets  of  Leon  that  I  never  felt  in  any  city 
in  the  East.  My  change  of  dress  did  not  make  my 
presence  more  acceptable,  and  the  eagle  on  my  hat  at- 
tracted particular  attention.  At  every  corner  was  a 
group  of  scoundrels,  who  stared  at  me  as  if  disposed  to 
pick  a  quarrel.  With  some  my  official  character  made 
VOL.  II,— D  3 


me  an  object  of  suspicion  ;  for  in  their  disgraceful  fights 
they  thought  that  the  eyes  of  the  whole  world  were  upon 
them,  and  that  England,  France,  and  the  United  States 
were  secretly  contending  for  the  possession  of  their  in- 
teresting country.  I  intended  to  pay  a  visit  to  the  chief 
of  the  state  ;  but,  afraid  of  being  insulted  or  getting  into 
some  difficulty  that  might  detain  me,  I  returned  to  the 

By  means  of  the  servants  Nicolas  had  found  two  men 
who  were  willing  to  accompany  me,  but  I  did  not  like 
their  looks,  or  even  to  let  them  know  when  I  intended  to 
set  out.  I  had  hardly  disposed  of  them  before  my  guide 
came  to  advise  me  not  to  set  out  the  next  day,  as  five 
hundred  soldiers,  who  had  been  making  preparations 
for  several  days,  were  to  march  the  next  morning 
against  San  Salvador.  This  was  most  unpleasant  in- 
telligence. I  did  not  wish  to  travel  with  them,  or  to 
fall  in  with  them  on  the  road  ;  and  calculating  that  their 
march  would  be  slower  than  mine,  told  the  guide  to  as- 
certain their  time  for  starting,  and  we  would  set  out 
two  hours  before  them.  Nicolas  went  out  with  him  to 
take  the  mules  to  water  ;  but  they  returned  in  great  haste, 
with  intelligence  that  piquets  were  scouring  the  city  for 
men  and  mules,  and  had  entered  the  yard  of  a  padre 
near  by  and  taken  three  of  his  animals.  The  lady  of 
the  house  ordered  all  the  doors  to  be  locked  and  the 
keys  brought  to  her,  and  an  hour  before  dark  we  were 
all  shut  in,  and  my  poor  mules  went  without  water. 

At  about  eight  o'clock  we  heard  the  tramp  of  cavalry 
in  the  streets,  and  gathering  inside  the  doorway,  saw 
about  six  hundred  men  taking  up  their  line  of  march. 
There  was  no  music,  no  shouting,  no  waving  of  hand- 
kerchiefs, to  cheer  them  as  defenders  of  their  country 
or  as  adventurers  in  the  road  to  glory  ;  but  in  the  dark, 


and  barefooted,  their  tread  seemed  stealthy ;  people 
looked  at  them  with  fear  ;  and  it  seemed  rather  the  sally 
of  a  band  of  conspirators  than  a  march  by  the  soldiers 
of  a  republic. 

My  muleteer  did  not  return  till  daylight  the  next 
morning.  Fortunately  for  us,  he  had  learned  that  the 
troops  were  destined  on  another,  but  even  a  more  in- 
glorious expedition.  Expenses  had  been  incurred  in 
sending  troops  into  Honduras,  of  which  Grenada  refu- 
sed to  pay  its  portion,  on  the  ground  that,  by  the  con- 
stitution, it  was  not  liable  except  for  expenses  incurred 
in  defending  the  borders  of  its  own  state.  This  was 
admitted;  but  the  expense  had  been  incurred;  Leon 
had  fought  the  battle,  and  had  the  same  materials  with 
which  she  gained  it  to  enforce  the  contribution.  In  or- 
der that  Grenada  might  be  taken  unawares,  it  was  given 
out  that  the  troops  were  destined  for  San  Salvador,  and 
they  were  actually  marched  out  on  the  San  Salvador 
road ;  but  at  midnight  made  a  circuit,  and  took  the 
route  for  Grenada.  War  between  different  states  was 
bad  enough,  but  here  the  flame  which  had  before  laid 
the  capital  in  ruins  was  lighted  again  within  its  own 
borders.  What  the  result  of  this  expedition  was  I 
never  heard ;  but  probably,  taken  unawares  and  without 
arms,  Grenada  was  compelled  by  bayonets  to  pay  what, 
by  the  constitution,  she  was  not  bound  to  pay. 

Outside  of  Leon,  and  once  more  on  the  back  of  my 
macho,  I  breathed  more  freely.  Nicolas  was  induced 
to  continue  by  hearing  that  there  was  a  vessel  at  Realejo 
for  Costa  Rica,  and  I  hoped  to  find  one  for  Zonzonate. 
The  great  plain  of  Leon  was  even  more  beautiful  than 
before ;  too  beautiful  for  the  thankless  people  to  whom 
the  bounty  of  Providence  had  given  it.  On  the  left 
wras  the  same  low  ridge  separating  it  from  the  Pacific 


Ocean,  and  on  the  right  the  great  range  of  Cordilleras, 
terminated  by  the  volcano  of  the  Viejo. 

I  had  passed  through  the  village  of  Chichuapa  when 
I  heard  a  cry  of  "  caballero"  behind  me,  and  turning, 
saw  divers  people  waving  their  hands,  and  a  woman 
running,  almost  out  of  breath,  with  a  pocket-handker- 
chief which  I  had  left  at  the  house  where  I  breakfasted. 
I  was  going  on,  when  a  respectable-looking  gentleman 
stopped  me,  with  many  apologies  for  the  liberty,  and 
asked  for  a  medio,  sixpence.  I  gave  him  one,  which 
he  examined  and  handed  back,  saying,  "  No  corre," 
"  it  does  not  pass."  It  was  always,  in  paying  money, 
a  matter  of  course  to  have  two  or  three  pieces  return- 
ed, and  this  I  sometimes  resisted  ;  but  as  in  this  land 
everything  was  al  reverse,  it  seemed  regular  for  beg- 
gars to  be  choosers,  and  I  gave  him  another. 

My  stopping-pldce  was  at  the  house  of  Mr,  Bridges, 
an  Englishman  from  one  of  the  West  India  Islands, 
who  had  been  resident  in  the  country  many  years,  and 
was  married  to  a  lady  of  Leon,  but,  on  account  of  the 
convulsions  of  the  country,  lived  on  his  hacienda.  The 
soil  was  rich  for  cotton  and  sugar,  and  Mr.  B.  said  tha 
here  fifty  men  could  manufacture  sugar  cheaper  than 
two  hundred  in  the  islands ;  but  the  difficulty  was,  no 
reliance  could  be  placed  upon  Indian  labour.  Here 
again,  thanks  to  the  kindness  of  Mr.  B.  and  his  lady, 
and  the  magnificent  wildness  of  hacienda  life,  I  could 
have  passed  several  days  wi*h  much  satisfaction ;  but  I 
stopped  only  for  dinner,  after  which  Mr.  B.  accompa- 
nied me  to  Chinandaga. 

As  usual,  my  first  business  was  to  make  arrange- 
ments for  continuing  my  journey.  My  whole  road  was 
along  the  coast  of  the  Pacific,  but  beyond  this  the 
Gulf  of  Couchagua  made  a  large  indentation  in  the 


land,  which  it  was  customary  to  cross  in  a  bungo,  send- 
ing the  mules  around  the  head  of  the  gulf.  I  was  ad- 
vised that  the  latter  was  hazardous,  as  the  Honduras 
troops  were  marching  upon  San  Salvador,  and  would 
seize  them.  I  might  save  them  by  going  myself ;  but 
it  was  a  journey  of  six  days,  through  a  country  so  des- 
olate that  it  was  necessary  to  carry  food  for  the  mules ; 
and  as  I  had  still  a  long  road  beyond,  I  felt  it  necessa- 
ry to  economize  my  strength.  I  was  loth  to  run  the 
risk  of  losing  my  mules,  and  sent  a  courier  to  El 
Viejo,  where  the  owners  of  the  bungoes  lived,  to  hire 
the  largest,  determined  to  run  the  risk  of  taking  them 
with  me.  The  next  morning  the  courier  returned,  hav- 
ing procured  a  bungo,  to  be  ready  the  next  evening, 
and  with  a  message  from  the  owner  that  the  embarca- 
tion  must  be  at  my  risk. 

Obliged  to  wait  the  day,  after  breakfast  I  started  for 
Realejo.  On  the  way  I  met  Mr.  Foster,  the  English 
vice-consul,  coming  to  see  me.  He  turned  back,  and 
took  me  first  to  the  machine  or  cotton  factory,  of  which 
I  had  heard  much  on  the  road.  It  was  the  only  one  in 
the  country,  and  owed  its  existence  to  the  enterprise  of 
a  countryman,  having  been  erected  by  Mr.  Higgins, 
who,  disappointed  in  his  expectations,  or  disgusted  with 
the  country  from  other  causes,  sold  it  to  Don  Francisco 
and  Mr.  Foster.  They  were  sanguine  in  their  expecta- 
tions of  profit;  for  tney  supposed  that,  by  furnishing  a 
market;  the  people  would  be  induced  to  work  and  raise 
cotton  enough  for  exportation  to  Europe.  The  re- 
sources of  this  distracted  country  are  incalculable. 
Peace  and  industry  would  open  fountains  which  would 
overflow  with  wealth;  and  I  have  no  doubt  the  influ- 
ence of  this  single  factory  will  be  felt  in  quieting  and 
enriching  the  whole  district  within  its  reach. 


I  accompanied  Mr.  Foster  to  Realejo,  which  was  only 
half  an  hour's  ride.  The  harbour,  Huarros  says,  is 
capable  of  containing  a  thousand  ships  ;  but,  being  two 
or  three  leagues  distant,  I  was  unable  to  visit  it.  The 
town,  consisting  of  two  or  three  streets,  with  low  strag- 
gling houses,  enclosed  by  a  thick  forest,  was  founded 
by  a  few  of  the  companions  of  Alvarado,  who  stopped 
there  on  their  expedition  to  Peru ;  but,  being  so  near 
the  sea,  and  exposed  to  the  incursions  of  the  bucaniers-, 
the  inhabitants  moved  inland,  and  founded  Leon. 

At  dark  we  returned  to  the  factory,  and  Don  Fran- 
cisco and  I  reached  Chinandaga,  where  I  was  greeted 
with  intelligence  that  the  proprietor  of  the  boat  had  sent 
word  that  he  supposed  I  had  a  permission  to  embark 
from  the  chief  of  the  state,  as,  by  a  late  order,  no  per- 
son could  embark  without.  He  was  most  provokingly 
out  in  his  supposition.  I  had  entered  the  state  by  a 
frontier  of  wilderness,  and  had  not  once  been  asked  for 
a  passport.  The  reader  may  remember  how  I  was  pre- 
vented visiting  the  chief  of  the  state  ;  and,  besides,  when 
at  Leon,  I  did  not  know  whether  I  should  continue  by 
land  or  cross  the  gulf,  and  supposed  that  at  the  port  of 
embarcation  I  could  procure  all  that  was  necessary.  I 
was  excessively  disturbed ;  but  Don  Francisco  sent  for 
the  commandant  of  the  town,  who  said  that  the  order  had 
not  yet  been  sent  to  the  port,  but  was  in  his  hands,  and 
he  would  retain  it. 

Early  the  next  morning  I  sent  on  an  ox  wagon  with 
the  luggage  and  a  stock  of  corn  and  grass  for  the  mules 
during  the  voyage,  and,  after  a  pleasant  ride  of  a  league, 
reached  the  Viejo,  one  of  the  most  respectable-looking 
towns  in  Nicaragua.  The  house  of  the  owner  of  the 
bungo  was  one  of  the  largest  in  the  place,  and  furnish- 
ed with  two  mahogany  sofas  made  by  a  Yankee  cabi- 


net-maker  in  Lima,  two  looking-glasses  with  gilt  frames, 
a  French  clock,  gilt  chairs  with  cane  bottoms,  and  two 
Boston  rocking-chairs,  which  had  made  the  passage 
round  Cape  Horn.  Don  Francisco  went  over  to  the 
commandant.  He,  unluckily,  had  received  his  orders 
direct  from  the  government,  and  dared  not  let  me  pass. 
I  went  over  myself  with  Mr.  Foster.  The  order  was 
positive,  and  I  was  in  agony.  Here  I  made  a  push  with 
my  official  character,  and  after  an  hour's  torment,  by 
the  warm  help  of  Mr.  Foster,  and  upon  his  undertaking 
to  save  the  commandant  harmless,  and  to  send  an  ex- 
press immediately  to  Leon  for  a  passport  from  the  chief 
of  the  state,  it  was  agreed  that  in  the  mean  time  I  might 
go  on. 

I  did  not  wait  long,  but,  taking  leave  of  Mr.  Foster 
and  Don  Francisco,  set  out  for  the  port.  It  was  seven 
leagues,  through  an  unbroken  forest.  On  the  way  I 
overtook  my  bungo  men,  nearly  naked,  moving  in  sin- 
gle file,  with  the  pilot  at  their  head,  and  each  carrying 
on  his  back  an  open  network-  containing  tortillas  and 
provisions  for  the  voyage.  At  half  past  two  we  reach- 
ed the  port  of  Nagoscolo.  There  was  a  single  hut,  at 
which  a  woman  was  washing  corn,  with  a  naked  child 
near  her  on  the  ground,  its  face,  arms,  and  body  one 
running  sore,  a  picture  of  squalid  poverty.  In  front 
was  a  large  muddy  plain,  through  the  centre  of  \\hich 
ran  a  straight  cut  called  a  canal,  with  an  embankment 
on  one  side  dry,  the  mud  baked  hard  and  bleached  by 
the  sun.  In  this  ditch  lay  several  bungoes  high  and 
dry,  adding  to  the  ugliness  of  the  picture.  I  had  a 
feeling  of  great  satisfaction  that  I  was  not  obliged  to  re- 
main there  long ;  but  the  miserable  woman,  with  a  tone 
of  voice  that  seemed  to  rejoice  in  the  chance  of  making 
others  as  miserable  as  herself,  desisted  from  washing 


her  rnaize,  and  screeched  in  my  ears  that  a  guarda  had 
been  sent  direct  from  the  capital,  with  orders  to  let  no 
one  embark  without  a  passport.  The  guarda  had  gone 
down  the  river  in  a  canoe,  in  search  of  a  bungo  which 
had  attempted  to  go  away  without  a  passport ;  and  I 
walked  down  the  bank  of  the  canal  in  hope  to  catch  him 
alone  when  he  returned.  The  sun  was  scorching  hot, 
and  as  I  passed  the  bungoes  the  boatmen  asked  me  if  I 
had  a  passport.  At  the  end  of  the  canal,  under  the  shade 
of  a  large  tree,  were  two  women  ;  and  they  had  been  in 
that  place  three  days,  waiting  for  one  of  their  party  who 
had  gone  to  Leon  to  procure  a  passport. 

It  was  more  than  an  hour  before  the  guarda  appear- 
ed. He  was  taken  by  the  eagle  on  my  hat,  and  while 
I  told  him  my  story,  said  "  Si,  senor,"  to  everything ; 
but  when  I  talked  of  embarking,  said,  "  Senor,  you 
have  no  passport^'  I  will  not  inflict  upon  the  reader 
the  details  of  all  my  vexations  and  anxiety  that  after- 
noon. I  was  most  eager  to  hurry  on.  To  send  a  cou- 
rier to  Leon  would  keep  me  in  suspense  insufferable. 
Some  difficulty  might  happen,  and  the  only  way  for 
peace  of  mind  was  to  return  myself.  I  had  already 
made  a  longer  journey  than  is  ever  made  in  the  coun- 
try without  an  interval  of  rest.  The  road  before  me 
led  through  the  seat  of  war,  and  four  days'  detention 
might  throw  me  into  the  midst  of  it.  (In  fact,  the 
result  proved  that  one  day  would  have  done  so.)  I 
walked  with  the  guarda  to  the  hut,  arid  in  greater 
anxiety  than  I  had  felt  since  my  departure  from  home, 
showed  him  my  papers — a  larger  bundle,  perhaps,  than 
he  had  ever  seen  before,  and  with  bigger  seals,  partic- 
ularly my  original  passport  from  my  own  government — 
jumbling  together  his  government  and  my  government, 
the  amicable  relations  existing  between  them,  and  try- 


ing  to  give  him  an  overwhelming  idea  of  my  impor- 
tance ;  but  he  knew  no  more  what  it  meant  than  if  I 
had  repeated  to  him  in  English  the  fifth  problem  in  Eu- 
clid. The  poor  man  was  almost  in  as  great  perplexity 
as  I  was.  Several  times  he  assented  and  retracted  ;  and 
at  length,  upon  my  giving  him  a  letter  promising  him 
the  protection  of  Mr.  Foster  and  the  commandant  at 
Viejo,  he  agreed  to  let  the  bungo  go. 

It  was  about  an  hour  before  dark  when  we  went  down 
to  embark  the  mules.  My  bungo  was  at  the  extreme 
end  of  the  canal,  and  the  tide  had  risen  so  that  she  was 
afloat.  We  began  with  the  gray,  by  casting  a  noose 
around  her  legs,  drawing  them  together,  and  throwing 
her  down.  Tne  men  then  attempted  to  lift  her  up  bod- 
ily over  the  side  of  the  bungo ;  but  failing  in  this,  took 
off  the  rudder,  and  leaning  it  against  the  side,  hauled  the 
mule  up  it,  then  tilted  the  rudder,  and  dropped  her  into 
the  boat.  In  the  mean  time  the  macho  stood  under  a 
tree,  looking  on  very  suspiciously,  and  with  fearful  fore- 
bodings. The  noose  was  put  round  his  legs,  with  a  rope 
before  and  behind  to  pull  on,  and  struggling  desper- 
ately, he  was  thrown  down,  but  hardly  touched  the 
ground  before,  with  a  desperate  effort,  he  broke  the 
ropes  and  rose  upon  his  feet.  A  second  attempt  was 
more  successful ;  but  the  two  abreast  made  a  close  fit, 
and  I  was  obliged  to  leave  behind  the  luggage  mule. 
I  paid  the  guarda  to  take  her  to  Mr.  Foster,  but  whether 
she  reached  him  or  not  I  have  never  heard. 

We  were  assisted  by  the  boatmen  of  another  bungo, 
and  I  ordered  supper  and  agua  ardiente  for  the  whole. 
This  was  furnished  at  the  hut  by  the  guarda,  and  when 
it  was  over,  the  men,  all  in  good  spirits,  commenced 
taking  the  luggage  on  board.  At  this  time  some  who 
were  detained  were  grumbling,  and  a  new  man  entered 

VOL.  II.— E 


the  hut,  as  he  said  direct  from  the  Pueblo,  who  croaked 
in  my  ears  the  odious  order,  and  the  guard  again  made 
objections.  I  was  excessively  vexed  by  this  last  inter- 
ruption ;  and  fairly  bullying  the  new  comer  out  of  the 
hut,  told  the  guard  that  the  thing  was  settled  and  I  would 
not  be  trifled  with,  took  up  my  gun,  and  told  the  men 
to  follow  me.  I  saw  beforehand  that  they  were  ele- 
vated by  their  good  cheer,  and  that  I  could  rely  upon 
them.  The  guard,  and  all  those  compelled  to  wait, 
followed ;  but  we  got  on  board,  and  my  crew  were  so 
tipsy  that  they  defied  all  opposition.  One  push  clear- 
ed the  bungo  from  the  canal,  and  as  she  was  passing 
out  a  stranger  unexpectedly  stepped  on  board,  and  in 
the  dark  slipped  down  under  the  awning  with  the  mules. 
I  was  surprised  and  a  little  indignant  that  he  had  not 
asked  leave,  and  it  occurred  to  me  that  he  was  a  partisan 
who  might  compromise  me  ;  but  to  return  might  lead  to 
new  difficulty,  and,  besides,  he  was  probably  some  poor 
fellow  escaping  for  his  life,  and  it  was  better  that  I  should 
know  nothing  about  it.  In  the  midst  of  my  doubts  a 
man  on  the  bank  cried  out  that  fifty  soldiers  had  ar- 
rived from  Leon.  It  was  pitchy  dark  ;  we  could  see  no- 
thing, and  my  men  answered  with  a  shout  of  defiance. 
In  the  mean  time  we  were  descending  rapidly,  whirl- 
ing around  and  hitting  against  the  branches  of  trees ; 
the  mules  were  thrown  down,  the  awning  carried  away, 
and  in  the  midst  of  darkness  and  confusion  we  struck 
with  a  violent  crash  against  another  bungo,  which  knock- 
ed us  all  into  a  heap,  and  I  thought  would  send  us  to 
the  bottom.  The  men  rose  with  roars  of  laughter.  It 
was  a  bad  beginning.  Still  I  was  overjoyed  at  being 
clear  of  the  port,  and  there  was  a  wild  excitement  in  the 
scene  itself.  At  length  the  men  sat  down  to  the  oars,  and 
pulled  for  a  few  minutes  as  if  they  would  tear  the  old 

A     B  U  N  G  O.  35 

bungo  out  of  the  water,  shouting  all  the  time  like  spirits 
of  darkness  let  loose.  The  pilot  sat  quietly  at  the  helm, 
without  speaking,  and  dark  as  it  was,  at  times  I  saw  a 
smile  steal  over  his  face  at  wild  sallies  of  the  boatmen. 
Again  they  began  rowing  furiously  as  before,  and  sud- 
denly one  of  the  sweeps  broke  and  the  oarsman  fell 
backward.  The  bungo  was  run  up  among  the  trees,  and 
the  men  climbed  ashore  by  the  branches.  The  blows 
of  machetes,  mingled  with  shouts  and  laughter,  rang 
through  the  woods ;  they  were  the  noisiest  party  I  met 
in  Central  America.  In  the  dark  they  cut  down  a 
dozen  saplings  before  they  found  what  they  wanted,  and 
in  about  an  hour  returned,  and  the  shattered  awning 
was  refitted.  By  this  time  they  were  more  sobered ; 
and  taking  their  sweeps,  we  moved  silently  down  the 
dark  river  until  one  o'clock,  when  we  came  to  anchor. 
The  bungo  was  about  forty  feet  long,  dug  out  of  the 
trunk  of  a  Guanacaste  tree,  about  five  feet  wide  and 
nearly  as  deep,  with  the  bottom  round,  and  a  toldo  or 
awning,  round  like  the  top  of  a  market- wagon,  made  of 
matting  and  bulls'  hides,  covered  ten  feet  of  the  stern. 
Beyond  were  six  seats  across  the  sides  of  the  bungo  for 
the  oarsmen.  The  whole  front  was  necessary  for  the 
men,  and  in  reality  I  had  only  the  part  occupied  by  the 
awning,  where,  with  the  mules  as  tenants  in  common, 
there  were  too  many  of  us.  They  stood  abreast,  with 
their  halters  tied  to  the  first  bench.  The  bottom  was 
rounding,  and  gave  them  an  unsteady  foothold ;  and 
when  the  boat  heaved  they  had  a  scramble  to  preserve 
their  centre  of  gravity.  The  space  between  their  heels 
and  the  end  of  the  log  or  stern  of  the  bungo  was  my 
sleeping-room.  Nicolas  was  afraid  to  pass  between  the 
mules  to  get  a  place  among  the  men,  and  he  could  not 
climb  over  the  awning.  I  had  their  heads  tethered 


close  up  to  the  bench,  and  putting  him  outside  to  catch 
the  first  kick,  drew  up  against  the  stern  of  the  bungo 
and  went  to  sleep. 

At  half  past  seven  we  weighed  anchor,  or  hauled  up 
a  large  stone,  and  started  with  oars.  My  boatmen 
were  peculiar  in  their  way  of  wearing  pantaloons. 
First  they  pulled  them  off,  folded  them  about  a  foot 
wide  and  two  feet  long,  and  then  suspended  them 
over  the  belts  of  their  machetes  like  little  aprons.  At 
nine  o'clock  we  reached  the  mouth  of  the  river.  Here 
we  hoisted  sail,  and  while  the  wind  was  fair  did  very 
well.  The  sun  was  scorching,  and  under  the  awning 
the  heat  was  insufferable.  Following  the  coast,  at  eleven 
o'clock  we  were  opposite  the  Volcano  of  Cosaguina,  a 
long,  dark  mountain  range,  with  another  ridge  running 
below  it,  and  then  an  extensive  plain  covered  with  lava 
to  the  sea.  The  wind  headed  us,  and  in  order  to  weath- 
er the  point  of  headland  from  which  we  could  lay  our 
course,  the  boatmen  got  into  the  water  to  tow  the  bungo. 
I  followed  them,  and  with  a  broad-brimmed  straw  hat 
to  protect  me  from  the  sun,  I  found  the  water  was  de- 
lightful. During  this  time  one  of  the  men  brought  sand 
from  the  shore  to  break  the  roundness  of  the  bottom  of 
the  boat,  and  give  the  mules  a  foothold.  Unable  to 
weather  the  point,  at  half  past  one  we  came  to  anchor, 
and  very  soon  every  man  on  board  was  asleep. 

I  woke  with  the  pilot's  legs  resting  on  my  shoulder. 
It  was  rather  an  undignified  position,  but  no  one  saw  it. 
Before  me  was  the  Volcano  of  Cosaguina,  with  its  field 
of  lava  and  its  desolate  shore,  and  not  a  living  being 
was  in  sight  except  my  sleeping  boatmen.  Five  years 
before,  on  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  at  the 
foot  of  Mount  Etna,  I  read  in  a  newspaper  an  account 
of  the  eruption  of  this  volcano.  Little  did  I  then  ever 

EFFECTS     OF     AN     ERUPTION.  37 

expect  to  see  it  ;  the  most  awful  in  the  history  of  vol- 
canic eruptions,  the  noise  of  which  startled  the  people 
of  Guatimala  four  hundred  miles  off;  and  at  Kingston, 
Jamaica,  eight  hundred  miles  distant,  was  supposed  to 
be  signal  guns  of  distress  from  some  vessel  at  sea.  The 
face  of  nature  was  changed ;  the  cone  of  the  volcano 
was  gone ;  a  mountain  and  field  of  lava  ran  down  to 
the  sea  ;  a  forest  old  as  creation  had  entirely  disappear- 
ed, and  two  islands  were  formed  in  the  sea;  shoals 
were  discovered,  in  one  of  which  a  large  tree  was  fixed 
upside  down  ;  one  river  was  completely  choked  up,  and 
another  formed,  running  in  an  opposite  direction  ;  seven 
men  in  the  employ  of  my  bungo-proprietor  ran  down  to 
the  water,  pushed  off  in  a  bungo,  and  were  never  heard 
of  more ;  wild  beasts,  howling,  left  their  caves  in  the 
mountains,  and  ounces,  leopards,  and  snakes  fled  for 
shelter  to  the  abodes  of  men. 

This  eruption  took  place  on  the  20th  of  January, 
1835.  Mr.  Savage  was  on  that  day  on  the  side  of  the 
Volcano  of  San  Miguel,  distant  one  hundred  and  twenty 
miles,  looking  for  cattle.  At  eight  o'clock  he  saw  a 
dense  cloud  rising  in  the  south  in  a  pyramidal  form, 
and  heard  a  noise  which  sounded  like  the  roaring  of  the 
sea.  Very  soon  the  thick  clouds  were  lighted  up  by 
vivid  flashes,  rose-coloured  and  forked,  shooting  and 
disappearing,  which  he  supposed  to  be  some  electrical 
phenomenon.  These  appearances  increased  so  fast  that 
his  men  became  frightened,  and  said  it  was  a  ruina, 
and  that  the  end  of  the  world  was  nigh.  Very  soon  he 
himself  was  satisfied  that  it  was  the  eruption  of  a  vol- 
cano ;  and  as  Cosaguina  was  at  that  time  a  quiet 
mountain,  not  suspected  to  contain  subterraneous  fires, 
he  supposed  it  to  proceed  from  the  Volcano  of  Tigris. 
He  returned  to  the  town  of  San  Miguel,  and  in  riding 



three  blocks  felt  three  severe  shocks  of  earthquake. 
The  inhabitants  were  distracted  with  terror.  Birds 
flew  wildly  through  the  streets,  and,  blinded  by  the 
dust,  fell  dead  on  the  ground.  At  four  o'clock  it  was 
so  dark  that,  as  Mr.  S.  says,  he  held  up  his  hand  before 
his  eyes,  and  could  not  see  it.  Nobody  moved  with- 
out a  candle,  which  gave  a  dim  and  misty  light,  ex- 
tending only  a  few  feet.  At  this  time  the  church  was 
full,  and  could  not  contain  half  who  wished  to  enter 
The  figure  of  the  Virgin  was  brought  out  into  the  plaza 
and  borne  through  the  streets,  followed  by  the  inhabi- 
tants, with  candles  and  torches,  in  penitential  proces 
sion,  crying  upon  the  Lord  to  pardon  their  sins.  Bells 
tolled,  and  during  the  procession  there  was  anothei 
earthquake,  so  violent  and  long  that  it  threw  to  tht 
ground  many  people  walking  in  the  procession.  Tht 
darkness  continue'd  till  eleven  o'clock  the  next  day 
when  the  sun  was  partially  visible,  but  dim  and  hazy, 
and  without  any  brightness.  The  dust  on  the  ground 
was  four  inches  thick  ;  the  branches  of  trees  broke  with 
its  weight,  and  people  were  so  disfigured  by  it  that  they 
could  not  be  recognised. 

At  this  time  Mr.  S.  set  out  for  his  hacienda  at  Zon- 
zonate.  He  slept  at  the  first  village,  and  at  two  or 
three  o'clock  in  the  morning  was  roused  by  a  report 
like  the  breaking  of  most  terrific  thunder  or  the  firing 
of  thousands  of  cannon.  This  was  the  report  which 
startled  the  people  of  Guatimala,  when  the  command- 
ant sallied  out,  supposing  that  the  quartel  was  attacked, 
and  which  was  heard  at  Kingston  in  Jamaica.  It  was 
accompanied  by  an  earthquake  so  violent  that  it  almost 
threw  Mr.  S.  out  of  his  hammock.* 

*  This  may  at  first  appear  no  great  feat  for  an  earthquake,  but  no  stronger 
proof  can  be  cited  of  the  violence  with  which  the  shock  affects  the  region  in 
which  it  occurs 

LA     UNION.  39 

Toward  evening  my  men  all  woke ;  the  wind  was 
fair,  but  they  took  things  quietly,  and  after  supper  hoist- 
ed sail.  About  twelve  o'clock,  by  an  amicable  arrange- 
ment, I  stretched  myself  on  the  pilot's  bench  under  the 
tiller,  and  when  I  woke  we  had  passed  the  Volcano  of 
Tigris,  and  were  in  an  archipelago  of  islands  more  beau- 
tiful than  the  islands  of  Greece.  The  wind  died  away, 
and  the  boatmen,  after  playing  for  a  little  while  with 
the  oars,  again  let  fall  the  big  stone  and  went  to  sleep. 
Outside  the  awning  the  heat  of  the  sun  was  withering, 
under  it  the  closeness  was  suffocating,  and  my  poor 
mules  had  had  no  water  since  their  embarcation.  In 
the  confusion  of  getting  away  I  had  forgotten  it  till  the 
moment  of  departure,  and  then  there  was  no  vessel  in 
which  to  carry  it.  After  giving  them  a  short  nap  I 
roused  the  men,  and  with  the  promise  of  a  reward  in- 
duced them  to  take  to  their  oars.  Fortunately,  before 
they  got  tired  we  had  a  breeze,  and  at  about  four  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon  the  big  stone  was  dropped  in  the  har- 
bour of  La  Union,  in  front  of  the  town.  One  ship  was 
lying  at  anchor,  a  whaler  from  Chili,  which  had  put  in 
in  distress  and  been  condemned. 

The  commandant  was  Don  Manuel  Romero,  one  of 
Morazan's  veterans,  who  was  anxious  to  retire  altogeth- 
er from  public  life,  but  remained  in  office  because,  in 
his  present  straits,  he  could  be  useful  to  his  benefactor 
and  friend.  He  had  heard  of  me,  and  his  attentions 
reminded  me  of,  what  I  sometimes  forgot,  but  which 
others  very  rarely  did,  my  official  character  ;  he  invited 
me  to  his  house  while  I  remained  in  La  Union,  but  gave 
me  intelligence  which  made  me  more  anxious  than  ever 
to  hurry  on.  General  Morazan  had  left  the  port  but  a 
few  days  before,  having  accompanied  his  family  thither 
on  their  way  to  Chili.  On  his  return  to  San  Salvador 


he  intended  to  march  directly  against  Guatimala.  By 
forced  marches  I  might  overtake  him,  and  go  up  under 
the  escort  of  his  army,  trusting  to  chance  to  avoid  being 
on  the  spot  in  case  of  a  battle,  or  from  my  acquaintance 
with  Carrera  get  passed  across  the  lines.  Fortunately, 
the  captain  of  the  condemned  ship  wished  to  go  to  San 
Salvador,  and  agreed  to  accompany  me  the  next  day. 

There  were  two  strangers  in  the  place,  Captain 
R.  of  Honduras,  and  Don  Pedro,  a  mulatto,  both  of 
whom  were  particularly  civil  to  me.  In  the  evening 
my  proposed  travelling  companion  and  I  called  upon 
them,  and  very  soon  a  game  of  cards  was  proposed. 
The  doors  were  closed,  wine  placed  on  the  table,  and 
monte  begun  with  doubloons.  Captain  R.  and  Don 
Pedro  tried  hard  to  make  me  join  them;  and  when  I 
rose  to  leave,  Captain  R.,  as  if  he  thought  there  could 
be  but  one  reason* for  my  resisting,  took  me  aside,  and 
said  that  if  I  wanted  money  he  was  my  friend,  while 
Don  Pedro"  declared  that  he  was  not  rich,  but  that  he 
had  a  big  heart ;  that  he  was  happy  of  my  acquaint- 
ance ;  he  had  had  the  honour  to  know  a  consul  once 
before  at  Panama,  and  I  might  count  upon  him  for  any- 
thing I  wanted.  Gambling  is  one  of  the  great  vices  of 
the  country,  and  that  into  which  strangers  are  most  apt 
to  fall.  The  captain  had  fallen  in  with  a  set  at  San 
Miguel,  and  these  two  had  come  down  to  the  port  ex- 
pressly to  fleece  him.  During  the  night  he  detected 
them  cheating  ;  and  telling  them  that  he  had  learned  in 
Chili  to  use  a  knife  as  well  as  they  could,  laid  his  cane 
over  the  shoulders  of  him  who  had  had  the  honour  to 
know  a  consul  once  before,  and  broke  up  the  party. 
There  is  an  oldfashioned  feeling  of  respect  for  a  man 
who  wears  a  sword,  but  that  feeling  wears  off  in  Central 



Journey  to  San  Salvador. — A  new  Companion. — San  Alejo.— San  Miguel. — War 
Alarms.  —  Another  Countryman.  —  State  of  San  Salvador.  —  River  Lempa. — 
San  Vicente. — Volcano  of  San  Vicente. — Thermal  Springs. — Cojutepeque. — 
Arrival  at  San  Salvador.  —  Prejudice  against  Foreigners.  —  Contributions. — 
Pressgangs. — Vice-president  Vigil.— Taking  of  San  Miguel  and  San  Vicente, 
— Rumours  of  a  March  upon  San  Salvador. — Departure  from  San  Salvador.  ' 

AT  five  o'clock  the  next  afternoon  we  set  out  for  San 
Salvador.  Don  Manuel  Romero  furnished  me  with  let- 
ters of  introduction  to  all  the  Gefes  Politicos,  and  the 
captain's  name  was  inserted  in  my  passport. 

I  must  introduce  the  reader  to  my  new  friend.  Cap- 
tain Antonio  V.  F.,  a  little  over  thirty,  when  six 
months  out  on  a  whaling  voyage,  with  a  leaky  ship 
and  a  mutinous  crew,  steered  across  the  Pacific  for  the 
Continent  of  America,  and  reached  the  port  of  La 
Union  with  seven  or  eight  feet  water  in  the  hold  and 
half  his  crew  in  irons.  He  knew  nothing  of  Central 
America  until  necessity  threw  him  upon  its  shore. 
While  waiting  the  slow  process  of  a  regular  condem- 
nation and  order  for  the  sale  of  his  ship,  General  Mo- 
razan,  with  an  escort  of  officers,  came  to  the  port  to 
embark  his  wife  and  family  for  Chili.  Captain  F.  had 
become  acquainted  with  them,  and  through  them  with 
their  side  of  the  politics  of  the  country ;  and  in  the 
evening,  while  we  were  riding  along  the  ridge  of  a  high 
mountain,  he  told  me  that  he  had  been  offered  a  lieu- 
tenant-colonel's commission,  and  was  then  on  his  way 
to  join  Morazan  in  his  march  against  Guatimala.  His 
ship  was  advertised  for  sale,  he  had  written  an  account 
of  his  misadventures  to  his  owners  and  his  wife,  was 

VOL.  II.— F 


tired  of  remaining  at  the  port,  and  a  campaign  with 
Morazan  was  the  only  thing  that  offered.  He  liked 
General  Morazan,  and  he  liked  the  country,  and  thought 
his  wife  would  ;  if  Morazan  succeeded  there  would  be 
vacant  offices  and  estates  without  owners,  and  some  of 
them  worth  having.  He  went  from  whaling  to  cam- 
paigning as  coolly  as  a  Yankee  would  from  cutting 
down  trees  to  editing  a  newspaper.  It  was  no  affair  of 
mine,  but  I  suggested  that  there  was  no  honour  to  be 
gained  ;  that  he  would  get  his  full  share  of  hard  knocks, 
bullets,  and  sword-cuts ;  that  if  Morazan  succeeded  he 
would  have  a  desperate  struggle  for  his  share  of  the 
spoils,  and  if  Morazan  failed  he  would  certainly  be  shot. 
All  this  was  matter  he  had  thought  on,  and  before  com- 
mitting himself  he  intended  to  make  his  observations  at 
San  Salvador. 

At  ten  o'clock  we  reached  the  village  of  San  Alejo, 
and  stopped  at  a  very  comfortable  house,  where  all 
were  in  a  state  of  excitement  from  the  report  of  an  in- 
vasion from  Honduras. 

Early  the  next  morning  we  started  with  a  new  guide, 
and  a  little  beyond  the  village  he  pointed  out  a  place 
where  his  uncle  was  murdered  and  robbed  about  a  year 
before.  Four  of  the  robbers  were  caught,  and  sent  by 
the  alcalde,  under  a  guard  of  the  relations  of  the  mur- 
dered man,  to  San  Miguel,  with  directions  to  the  guard 
to  shoot  them  if  refractory.  The  guard  found  them  re- 
fractory at  the  very  place  where  the  murder  had  been 
committed,  and  shot  them  on  the  spot.  At  eight  o'clock 
we  came  in  sight  of  the  Volcano  of  San  Miguel,  and  at 
two  entered  the  city.  Riding  up  the  street,  we  passed 
a  large  church  with  its  front  fallen,  and  saw  paintings 
on  the  walls,  and  an  altar  forty  feet  high,  with  columns, 
and  images  sculptured  and  gilded,  exposed  to  the  open 


air.  All  along  the  road  we  had  heard  of  war,  and  we 
found  the  city  in  a  state  of  great  excitement.  The 
troops  of  Honduras  were  marching  upon  it,  and  then 
only  twelve  leagues  distant.  There  were  no  soldiers  to 
defend  it ;  all  had  been  drawn  off  for  Morazan's  expe- 
dition. Many  of  the  citizens  had  already  fled  ;  in  fact, 
the  town  was  half  depopulated,  and  the  rest  were  pre- 
paring to  save  themselves  by  concealment  or  flight. 
We  stopped  at  the  house  of  John,  or  Don  Juan,  Den- 
ning, an  American  from  Connecticut,  who  had  sold  an 
armed  brig  to  the  Federal  Government,  and  command- 
ed her  himself  during  the  blockade  of  Omoa,  but  had 
married  in  the  country,  and  for  several  years  lived  re- 
tired on  his  hacienda.  His  house  was  deserted  and 
stripped,  the  furniture  and  valuables  were  hidden,  and 
his  mother-in-law,  an  old  lady,  remained  in  the  empty 
tenement.  Nobody  thought  of  resistance  ;  and  the  cap- 
tain bought  a  silver-mounted  sword  from  one  of  the 
most  respectable  citizens,  who  was  converting  his  use- 
less trappings  into  money,  and  who,  with  a  little  trunk 
in  his  hand  containing  la  plata,  pointed  to  a  fine  horse 
in  the  courtyard,  and  without  a  blush  on  his  face  said 
that  was  his  security. 

The  captain  had  great  difficulty  in  procuring  mules ; 
he  had  two  enormous  trunks,  containing,  among  other 
things,  Peruvian  chains  and  other  gold  trinkets  to  a  large 
amount ;  in  fact,  all  he  was  worth.  In  the  evening  we 
walked  to  the  plaza ;  groups  of  men,  wrapped  in  their 
ponchas,  were  discussing  in  low  tones  the  movements  of 
the  enemy,  how  far  they  had  marched  that  day,  how 
long  they  would  require  for  rest,  and  the  moment  when 
it  would  be  necessary  to  fly.  We  returned  to  the  house, 
placed  two  naked  wooden-bottomed  bedsteads  in  one, 
and  having  ascertained  by  calculation  that  we  were  not 


likely  to  be  disturbed  during  the  night,  forgot  the  troub- 
les of  the  flying  inhabitants,  and  slept  soundly. 

On  account  of  the  difficulty  of  procuring  mules,  we 
did  not  set  out  till  ten  o'clock.  The  climate  is  the  hot- 
test in  Central  America,  and  insalubrious  under  expo- 
sure to  the  sun ;  but  we  would  not  wait.  Every  mo- 
ment there  were  new  rumours  of  the  approach  of  the 
Honduras  army,  and  it  was  all  important  for  us  to  keep 
in  advance  of  them.  I  shall  hasten  over  our  hurried 
journey  through  the  State  of  San  Salvador,  the  richest 
in  Central  America,  extending  a  hundred  and  eighty 
miles  along  the  shores  of  the  Pacific,  producing  tobac- 
co, the  best  indigo  and  richest  balsam  in  the  world. 
We  had  mountains  and  rivers,  valleys  and  immense  ra- 
vines, and  the  three  great  volcanoes  of  San  Miguel,  San 
Vicente,  and  San  Salvador,  one  or  the  other  of  which 
was  almost  constantly  in  sight.  The  whole  surface  is 
volcanic ;  for  miles  the  road  lay  over  beds  of  decom- 
posed lava,  inducing  the  belief  that  here  the  whole  shore 
of  the  Pacific  is  an  immense  arch  over  subterraneous 
fires.  From  the  time  of  the  independence  this  state 
stood  foremost  in  the  maintenance  of  liberal  principles, 
and  throughout  it  exhibits  an  appearance  of  improve- 
ment, a  freedom  from  bigotry  and  fanaticism,  and  a  de- 
velopment of  physical  and  moral  energy  not  found  in 
any  other.  The  San  Salvadoreans  are  the  only  men 
who  speak  of  sustaining  the  integrity  of  the  Republic  as 
a  point  of  national  honour. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  second  day  we  came  in  sight 
of  the  Lempa,  now  a  gigantic  river  rolling  on  to  the 
Pacific.  Three  months  before  I  had  seen  it  a  little 
stream  among  the  mountains  of  Esquipulas.  Here  we 
were  overtaken  by  Don  Carlos  Rivas,  a  leading  Liber- 
al from  Honduras,  flying  for  life  before  partisan  sol- 


diers  of  his  own  state.  "VVe  descended  to  the  bank  of 
the  river,  and  followed  it  through  a  wild  forest,  which 
had  been  swept  by  a  tornado,  the  trees  still  lying  as 
they  fell.  At  the  crossing-place  the  valley  of  the  river 
was  half  a  mile  wide  ;  but  being  the  dry  season,  on  this 
side  there  was  a  broad  beach  of  sand  and  stones.  We 
rode  to  the  water's  edge,  and  shouted  for  the  boatman 
on  the  opposite  side.  Other  parties  arrived,  all  fugi- 
tives, among  them  the  wife  and  family  of  Don  Carlos, 
and  we  formed  a  crowd  upon  the  shore.  At  length  the 
boat  came,  took  on  board  sixteen  mules,  saddles,  and 
luggage,  and  as  many  men,  women,  and  children  as 
could  stow  themselves  away,  leaving  a  multitude  behind. 
We  crossed  in  the  dark,  and  on  the  opposite  side  found 
every  hut  and  shed  filled  with  fugitives ;  families  in 
dark  masses  were  under  the  trees,  and  men  and  wom- 
en crawled  out  to  congratulate  friends  who  had  put 
the  Lempa  between  them  and  the  enemy.  We  slept 
upon  our  luggage  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  and  before 
daylight  were  again  in  the  saddle. 

That  night  we  slept  at  San  Vicente,  and  the  next 
morning  the  captain,  in  company  with  an  invalid  offi- 
cer of  Morazan's,  who  had  been  prevented  by  sick- 
ness from  accompanying  the  general  in  his  march 
against  Guatimala,  rode  on  with  the  luggage,  while  I, 
with  Colonel  Hoy  as,  made  a  circuit  to  visit  El  Infierno  of 
the  Volcano  of  San  Vicente.  Crossing  a  beautiful  plain 
running  to  the  base  of  the  volcano,  we  left  our  animals 
at  a  hut,  and  walked  some  distance  to  a  stream  in  a  deep 
ravine,  which  we  followed  upward  to  its  source,  com- 
ing from  the  very  base  of  the  volcano.  The  water  was 
warm,  and  had  a  taste  of  vitriol,  and  the  banks  were 
incrusted  with  white  vitriol  and  flour  of  sulphur.  At 
a  distance  of  one  or  two  hundred  yards  it  formed  a  ba- 


sin,  where  the  water  was  hotter  than  the  highest  grade 
of  my  Reaumur's  thermometer.  In  several  places  we 
heard  subterranean  noises,  and  toward  the  end  of  the 
ravine,  on  the  slope  of  one  side,  was  an  orifice  about 
thirty  feet  in  diameter,  from  which,  with  a  terrific  noise, 
boiling  water  was  spouted  into  the  air.  This  is  called 
El  Infiernillo,  or  the  "  little  infernal  regions."  The  in- 
habitants say  that  the  noise  is  increased  by  the  slight- 
est agitation  of  the  air,  even  by  the  human  voice.  Ap- 
proaching to  within  range  of  the  falling  water,  we  shout- 
ed several  times,  and  as  we  listened  and  gazed  into 
the  fearful  cavity,  I  imagined  that  the  noise  was  louder 
and  more  angry,  and  that  the  boiling  water  spouted 
higher  at  our  call.  Colonel  Hoyas  conducted  me  to  a 
path,  from  which  I  saw  my  road,  like  a  white  line,  over 
a  high  verdant  mountain.  He  told  me  that  many  of 
the  inhabitants  of  San  Miguel  had  fled  to  San  Vicente, 
and  at  that  place  the  Honduras  arms  would  be  repel- 
led ;  we  parted,  little  expecting  to  see  each  other  again 
so  soon,  and  under  such  unpleasant  circumstances  for 

I  overtook  the  captain  at  a  village  where  he  had 
breakfast  prepared,  and  in  the  afternoon  we  arrived  at 
Cojutepeque,  until  within  two  days  the  temporary  cap- 
ital, beautifully  situated  at  the  foot  of  a  small  extinct 
volcano,  its  green  and  verdant  sides  broken  only  by  a 
winding  path,  and  on  the  top  a  fortress,  which  Morazan 
had  built  as  his  last  rallying-place,  to  die  under  the  flag 
of  the  Republic. 

The  next  day  at  one  o'clock  we  reached  San  Salva- 
dor. Entering  by  a  fine  gate,  and  through  suburbs 
teeming  with  fruit  and  flower  trees,  the  meanness  of  the 
houses  was  hardly  noticed.  Advancing,  we  saw  heaps 
of  rubbish,  and  large  houses  with  their  fronts  cracked 


and  falling,  marks  of  the  earthquakes  which  had  broken 
it  up  as  the  seat  of  government,  and  almost  depopula- 
ted the  city.  This  series  of  earthquakes  commenced 
on  the  third  of  the  preceding  October  (the  same  day  on 
which  I  sailed  for  that  country),  and  for  twenty  days  the 
earth  was  tremulous,  sometimes  suffering  fifteen  or 
twenty  shocks  in  twenty-four  hours,  and  one  so  severe 
that,  as  Mr.  Chatfield  told  me,  a  bottle  standing  in  his 
sleeping-room  was  thrown  down.  Most  of  the  inhabi- 
tants abandoned  the  city,  and  those  who  remained  slept 
under  matting  in  the  courtyards  of  their  houses.  Every 
house  was  more  or  less  injured  ;  some  were  rendered 
untenantable,  and  many  were  thrown  down.  Two  days 
before,  the  vice-president  and  officers  of  the  Federal 
and  State  Governments,  impelled  by  the  crisis  of  the 
times,  had  returned  to  their  shattered  capital.  It  was 
about  one  o'clock,  intensely  hot,  and  there  was  no 
shade  ;  the  streets  were  solitary,  the  doors  and  windows 
of  the  houses  closed,  the  shops  around  the  plaza  shut, 
the  little  matted  tents  of  the  market-women  deserted,  and 
the  inhabitants,  forgetting  earthquakes,  and  that  a  hos- 
tile army  was  marching  upon  them,  were  taking  their 
noonday  siesta.  In  a  corner  of  the  plaza  was  a  barri- 
cade, constructed  with  trunks  of  trees,  rude  as  an  In- 
dian fortress,  and  fortified  with  cannon,  intended  as  the 
scene  of  the  last  effort  for  the  preservation  of  the  city. 
A  few  soldiers  were  asleep  under  the  corridor  of  the 
quartel,  and  a  sentinel  was  pacing  before  the  door. 
Inquiring  our  way  of  him,  we  turned  the  corner  of  the 
plaza,  and  stopped  at  the  house  of  Don  Pedro  Negrete, 
at  that  time  acting  as  vice-consul  both  of  England  and 
France,  and  the  only  representative  at  the  capital  of 
any  foreign  power. 

It  was  one  of  the  features  of  this  unhappy  revolution, 


that  the  Liberal  party,  before  the  friends  and  support- 
ers of  foreigners,  manifested  a  violent  feeling  against 
them,  particularly  the  English,  ostensibly  on  account 
of  their  occupation  of  the  miserable  little  Island  of  Ro- 
atan,  in  the  Bay  of  Honduras.  The  press,!,  e.,  a  little 
weekly  published  at  San  Salvador,  teemed  with  inflam- 
matory articles  against  los  Ingleses,  their  usurpation 
and  ambition,  and  their  unjust  design  of  adding  to 
their  extended  dominions  the  republic  of  Central 
America.  It  was  a  desperate  effort  to  sustain  a  par- 
ty menaced  with  destruction  by  rousing  the  national 
prejudice  against  strangers.  A  development  of  this 
spirit  was  seen  in  the  treaty  of  alliance  between  San 
Salvador  and  Quezaltenango,  the  only  two  states  that 
sustained  the  Federal  Government,  by  which,  in  Au- 
gust preceding,  it  was  agreed  that  their  delegates  to  the 
national  convention  should  be  instructed  to  treat,  in 
preference  to  all  other  things,  upon  measures  to  be  ta- 
ken for  the  recovery  of  the  Island  of  Roatan  ;  and  that 
no  production  of  English  soil  or  industry,  even  though 
it  came  under  the  flag  of  another  nation,  and  no  effect 
of  any  other  nation,  though  a  friendly  one,  if  it  came 
in  an  English  vessel,  should  be  admitted  into  the 
territory  until  England  restored  to  Central  America 
the  possession  of  that  island.  I  do  not  mean  to  say 
that  they  were  wrong  in  putting  forth  their  claims  to 
this  island — the  English  flag  was  planted  upon  it  in  a 
very  summary  way — nor  that  they  were  wrong  in  rec- 
ommending the  only  means  in  their  power  to  redress 
what  they  considered  an  injury  ;  for,  as  England  had 
not  declared  war  with  China,  it  would  have  been  rash 
for  the  states  of  San  Salvador  and  Los  Altos  to  involve 
themselves  in  hostilities  with  that  overgrown  power  ; 
but  no  formal  complaint  was  ever  made,  and  no  nego- 


tiation  proposed  ;  and  on  the  publication  of  this  trea- 
ty, which  Mr.  Chatfield,  the  British  consul  general,  con- 
sidered disrespectful  and  injurious  to  his  government, 
he  addressed  a  note  to  the  vice-president,  requesting  a 
categorical  answer  to  the  question  "  if  the  Federal 
Government  did  exist  or  not"  (precisely  what  I  was 
anxious  to  know) ;  to  which  he  received  no  answer. 
Afterward  Mr.  Chatfield  visited  Nicaragua,  and  the 
government  of  that  state  sent  him  a  communication,  re- 
questing his  mediation  in  settling  the  difficulties  be- 
tween the  states  of  San  Salvador  and  Honduras,  then 
at  war,  and  through  him  the  guarantee  of  the  Queen  of 
England  to  compel  the  fulfilment  of  any  treaty  made 
between  them.  Mr.  Chatfield,  in  his  answer,  referred 
to  his  letter  to  the  vice-president,  and  spoke  of  the  gov- 
ernment as  the  "  so-called  Federal  Government." 
The  correspondence  was  published,  and  increased  the 
exasperation  against  Mr.  Chatfield  and  foreigners  gen- 
erally ;  they  were  denounced  as  instigators  and  sup- 
porters of  the  revolution ;  their  rights  and  privileges  as 
residents  discussed,  and  finally  the  injustice  of  their  en- 
joying the  protection  of  the  government !  without  con- 
tributing to  the  expenses  of  supporting  it.  The  result 
was,  that  on  the  levying  of  a  new  forced  loan,  foreign- 
ers were  included  in  the  liability,  and  a  peremptory  or- 
der was  issued,  requiring  them,  in  case  of  refusal  to  pay, 
to  leave  the  country  in  eight  days.  The  foreigners 
were  violently  exasperated.  There  were  not  more 
than  a  dozen  in  the  state,  and  most  of  them  being  en- 
gaged in  business  which  it  would  be  ruinous  to  leave, 
were  compelled  to  pay.  Two  or  three  who  wanted  to 
leave  before  walked  off,  and  called  themselves  mar- 
tyrs, threatened  the  vengeance  of  their  government, 
and  talked  of  the  arrival  of  a  British  ship-of-war.  Mr. 
VOL.  II.— G  5 


Kilgour,  a  British  subject,  refused  to  pay.  The  au- 
thorities had  orders  to  give  him  his  passport  to  leave  the 
state.  Don  Pedro  Negrete,  as  vice-consul  of  France, 
Encargado  de  la  Ingelterra,  presented  a  remonstrance. 
The  vice-president's  answer  (in  part  but  too  true),  as  it 
contains  the  grounds  of  the  law,  and  shows  the  state 
of  feeling  existing  at  the  time,  I  give  in  his  own  words : 

"  Strangers  in  these  barbarous  countries,  as  they  call 
them,  ought  not  to  expect  to  have  the  advantage  of  be- 
ing protected  in  their  property  without  aiding  the  gov- 
ernment in  it.  We  are  poor,  and  if,  in  any  of  the  con- 
vulsions which  are  so  frequent  in  new  countries  that 
have  hardly  begun  their  political  career,  strangers  suf- 
er  losses,  they  at  once  have  recourse  to  their  govern- 
ments, that  the  nations  in  which  they  come  to  speculate, 
not  without  knowledge  of  the  risks,  pay  them  double  or 
treble  of  what  tKey  have  lost.  This  is  unjust  in  every 
point  of  view,  when  they  do  not  care  with  a  slight  loan 
to  aid  the  government  in  its  most  urgent  necessities. 
What  ought  the  government  to  do  ?  to  tell  them,  '  Away 
with  you,  I  cannot  secure  your  property ;  or,  lend  me  a 
certain  sum  in  order  to  enable  me  to  secure  it.'  On  the 
other  hand,  if  it  happens  that  a  strong  party  or  faction, 
as  it  is  called,  prevails,  and  falls  upon  your  property  the 
same  as  upon  the  property  of  the  sons  of  the  country  and 
the  public  rents,  and  you  complain  to  your  nation,  she 
comes  and  blockades  our  ports,  and  makes  the  poor  na- 
tion pay  a  thousand  per  cent." 

Mr.  Mercer,  a  French  merchant,  was  absent  at  the 
time  of  enforcing  the  contributions.  Don  Pedro  was 
his  agent  under  a  power  of  attorney,  and  had  charge  of 
his  goods,  and  refused  to  pay.  The  government  insist- 
ed; Don  Pedro  was  determined.  The  government 
sent  soldiers  to  his  house.  Don  Pedro  said  he  would 


hoist  the  French  flag ;  the  chief  of  the  state  said  he 
would  tear  it  down.  Don  Pedro  was  imprisoned  in  his 
own  house,  his  family  excluded  from  him,  and  his  food 
handed  in  by  a  soldier,  until  a  friend  paid  the  money. 
Don  Pedro  contended  that  the  majesty  of  France  was 
violated  in  his  person ;  the  government  said  that  the 
proceedings  were  against  him  as  the  agent  of  Mercer, 
and  not  as  French  consul ;  but  any  way,  consul  or 
agent,  Don  Pedro's  body  bore  the  brunt,  and  as  this 
took  place  but  two  days  before  our  arrival,  Don  Pedro 
was  still  in  bed  from  the  indisposition  brought  upon  him 
by  vexation  and  anxiety.  We  received  the  above, 
with  many  details,  from  Don  Pedro's  son,  as  an  apolo- 
gy for  his  father's  absence,  and  an  explanation  of  the 
ravings  we  heard  in  the  adjoining  room. 

In  the  evening  I  called  upon  the  vice-president. 
Great  changes  had  taken  place  since  I  saw  him  at  Zon- 
zonate.  The  troops  of  the  Federal  Government  had 
been  routed  in  Honduras  ;  Carrera  had  conquered  Quez- 
altenango,  garrisoned  it  with  his  own  soldiers,  destroy- 
ed its  existence  as  a  separate  state,  and  annexed  it  to 
Guatimala.  San  Salvador  stood  alone  in  support  of  the 
Federal  Government.  But  Senor  Vigil  had  risen  with 
the  emergency.  The  chief  of  the  state,  a  bold-looking 
mulatto,  and  other  officers  of  the  government,  were 
with  him.  They  knew  that  the  Honduras  troops  were 
marching  upon  the  city,  had  reason  to  fear  they  would 
be  joined  by  those  of  Nicaragua,  but  they  were  not  dis- 
mayed ;  on  the  contrary,  all  showed  a  resolution  and 
energy  I  had  not  seen  before.  General  Morazan,  they 
said,  was  on  his  march  against  Guatimala.  Tired  as 
they  were  of  war,  the  people  of  San  Salvador,  Senor 
Vigil  said,  had  risen  with  new  enthusiasm.  Volun- 
teers were  flocking  in  from  all  quarters ;  and  with  a  de- 


termination  that  was  imposing,  though  called  out  by 
civil  war,  he  added  that  they  were  resolved  to  sustain 
the  Federation,  or  die  under  the  ruins  of  San  Salva- 
dor. It  was  the  first  time  my  feelings  had  been  at  all 
roused.  In  all  the  convulsions  of  the  time  I  had  seen 
no  flash  of  heroism,  no  high  love  of  country.  Self- 
preservation  and  self-aggrandizement  were  the  ruling 
passions.  It  was  a  bloody  scramble  for  power  and 
place ;  and  sometimes,  as  I  rode  through  the  beautiful 
country,  and  saw  what  Providence  had  done  for  them, 
and  how  unthankful  they  were,  I  thought  it  would  be  a 
good  riddance  if  they  would  play  out  the  game  of  the 
Kilkenny  cats.  It  was  a  higher  tone  than  I  was  accus- 
tomed to,  when  the  chief  men  of  a  single  state,  with  an 
invading  army  at  their  door,  and  their  own  soldiers 
away,  expressed  the  stern  resolution  to  sustain  the  Fed- 
eration, or  die  un'der  the  ruins  of  the  capital.  But  they 
did  not  despair  of  the  Republic ;  the  Honduras  troops 
would  be  repulsed  at  San  Vicente,  and  General  Mora- 
zan  would  take  Guatimala.  The  whole  subject  of  the 
revolution  was  discussed,  and  the  conversation  was 
deeply  interesting  to  me,  for  I  regarded  it  as  touching 
matters  of  life  and  death.  I  could  not  compromise  them 
by  anything  I  might  say,  for  they  are  all  in  exile,  under 
sentence  of  death  if  they  return.  They  did  not  speak 
in  the  ferocious  and  sanguinary  spirit  I  afterward  heard 
imputed  to  them  at  Guatimala,  but  they  spoke  with 
great  bitterness  of  gentlemen  whom  I  considered  per- 
sonal friends,  who,  they  said,  had  been  before  spared 
by  their  lenity ;  and  they  added,  in  tones  that  could  not 
be  misunderstood,  that  they  would  not  make  such  a 
mistake  again. 

In  the  midst  of  this  confusion,  where  was  my  gov- 
ernment ?     I  had  travelled  all  over  the  country,  led  on 


by  a  glimmering  light  shining  and  disappearing,  and  I 
could  not  conceal  from  myself  that  the  crisis  of  my  for- 
tune was  at  hand.  All  depended  upon  the  success  of 
Morazan's  expedition.  If  he  failed,  my  occupation  was 
gone  ;  but  in  this  darkest  hour  of  the  Republic  I  did  not 
despair.  In  ten  years  of  war  Morazan  had  never  been 
beaten  ;  Carrera  would  not  dare  fight  him ;  Guatimala 
would  fall ;  the  moral  effect  would  be  felt  all  over  the 
country ;  Quezaltenango  would  shake  off  its  chains ; 
the  strong  minority  in  the  other  states  would  rise ;  the 
flag  of  the  Republic  would  once  more  wave  triumphant- 
ly, and  out  of  chaos  the  government  I  was  in  search 
of  would  appear. 

Nevertheless,  I  was  not  so  sure  of  it  as  to  wait  qui- 
etly till  it  came  to  me  at  San  Salvador.  The  result  was 
very  uncertain,  and  if  it  should  be  a  protracted  war,  I 
might  be  cut  off  from  Guatimala,  without  any  opportu- 
nity of  serving  my  country  by  diplomatic  arts,  and  pre- 
vented from  prosecuting  other  objects  more  interesting 
than  the  uncertain  pursuit  in  which  I  was  then  engaged. 
The  design  which  the  captain  had  in  coming  up  to  San 
Salvador  had  failed ;  he  could  not  join  Morazan's  ex- 
pedition ;  but  he  had  nothing  to  do  at  the  port,  was  anx- 
ious to  see  Guatimala,  had  a  stock  of  jewelry  and  other 
things  which  he  might  dispose  of  there,  and  was  so  sure 
of  Morazan's  success  that  he  determined  to  go  on  and 
pay  him  a  visit,  and  have  the  benefits  of  balls  and  other 
rejoicings  attendant  upon  his  triumph. 

In  the  excitement  and  alarm  of  the  place,  it  was  very 
difficult  to  procure  mules.  As  to  procuring  them  direct 
for  Guatimala,  it  was  impossible.  No  one  would  move 
on  that  road  until  the  result  of  Morazan's  expedition 
was  known  ;  and  even  to  get  them  for  Zonzonate  it  was 
necessary  to  wait  a  day.  That  day  I  intended  to  ab- 


stract  myself  from  the  tumult  of  the  city  and  ascend  the 
Volcano  of  San  Salvador ;  but  the  next  morning  a  woman 
came  to  inform  us  that  one  of  our  men  had  been  taken 
by  a  pressgang  of  soldiers,  and  was  in  the  carcel.  We 
followed  her  to  the  place,  and,  being  invited  in  by  the 
officer  to  pick  out  our  man,  found  ourselves  surrounded 
by  a  hundred  of  Vigil's  volunteers,  of  every  grade  in  ap- 
pearance and  character,  from  the  frightened  servant -boy 
torn  from  his  master's  door  to  the  worst  of  desperadoes  ; 
some  asleep  on  the  ground,  some  smoking  stumps  of  ci- 
gars, some  sullen,  and  others  perfectly  reckless.  Two 
of  the  supreme  worst  did  me  the  honour  to  say  they 
liked  my  looks,  called  me  captain,  and  asked  me  to  take 
them  into  my  company.  Our  man  was  not  ambitious, 
and  could  do  better  than  be  shot  at  for  a  shilling  a  day ; 
but  we  could  not  take  him  out  without  an  order  from 
the  chief  of  the  s{ate,  and  went  immediately  to  the  office 
of  the  government,  where  I  was  sorry  to  meet  Senor 
Vigil,  as  the  subject  of  my  visit  and  the  secrets  of  the 
prison  were  an  unfortunate  comment  upon  his  boasts  of 
the  enthusiasm  of  the  people  in  taking  up  arms.  With 
his  usual  courtesy,  however,  he  directed  the  proper  or- 
der to  be  made  out,  and  the  names  of  all  in  my  service 
to  be  sent  to  the  captains  of  the  different  pressgangs, 
with  orders  not  to  touch  them.  All  day  men  were 
caught  and  brought  in,  and  petty  officers  were  stationed 
along  the  street  drilling  them.  In  the  afternoon  intelli- 
gence was  received  that  General  Morazan's  advanced 
guard  had  defeated  a  detachment  of  Carrera's  troops, 
and  that  he  was  marching  with  an  accession  of  forces 
upon  Guatimala.  A  feu  de  joie  was  fired  in  the  plaza, 
and  all  the  church  bells  rang  peals  of  victory. 

In  the  evening  I  saw  Senor  Vigil  again  and  alone 
He  was  confident  of  the  result.     The  Honduras  troops 

TAKING     OP     SAN     MIGUEL.  55 

would  be  repulsed  at  San  Vicente ;  Morazan  would 
take  Guatimala.  He  urged  me  to  wait ;  he  had  his 
preparations  all  made,  his  horses  ready,  and,  on  the  first 
notice  of  Morazan's  entry,  intended  to  go  up  to  Guati- 
mala and  establish  that  city  once  more  as  the  capital. 
But  I  was  afraid  of  delay,  and  we  parted  to  meet  in 
Guatimala ;  but  we  never  met  again.  A  few  days  af- 
terward he  was  flying  for  his  life,  and  is  now  in  exile, 
under  sentence  of  death  if  he  returns  ;  the  party  that 
rules  Guatimala  is  heaping  opprobrium  upon  his  name  ; 
but  in  the  recollection  of  my  hurried  tour  I  never  for- 
get him  who  had  the  unhappy  distinction  of  being  vice- 
president  of  the  Republic. 

I  did  not  receive  my  passport  till  late  in  the  evening, 
and  though  I  had  given  directions  to  the  contrary,  the 
captain's  name  was  inserted.  We  had  already  had  a 
difference  of  opinion  in  regard  to  our  movements.  He 
was  not  so  bent  as  I  was  upon  pushing  on  to  Guati- 
mala, and  besides,  I  did  not  consider  it  right,  in  an 
official  passport,  to  have  the  name  of  a  partisan.  Ac- 
cordingly, early  in  the  morning  I  went  to  the  Govern- 
ment House  to  have  it  altered.  The  separate  passports 
were  just  handed  to  me  when  I  heard  a  clatter  in  the 
streets,  and  fifteen  or  twenty  horsemen  galloped  into 
the  courtyard,  covered  with  sweat  and  dust,  among 
whom  I  recognised  Colonel  Hoyas,  with  his  noble 
horse,  so  broken  that  I  did  not  know  him.  They  had 
ridden  all  night.  The  Honduras  troops  had  taken  San 
Miguel  and  San  Vicente,  and  were  then  marching  upon 
San  Salvador.  If  not  repulsed  at  Cojutepeque,  that 
day  they  would  be  upon  the  capital.  For  four  days 
I  had  been  running  before  these  troops,  and  now,  by  a 
strange  caprice,  at  the  prospect  of  actual  collision,  I  re- 
gretted that  my  arrangements  were  so  far  advanced, 


and  that  I  had  no  necessity  for  remaining.  I  had  a 
strong  curiosity  to  see  a  city  taken  by  assault,  but,  un* 
fortunately,  I  had  not  the  least  possible  excuse.  I  had 
my  passport  in  my  hand  and  my  mules  were  ready. 
Nevertheless,  before  I  reached  Don  Pedro's  house  I 
determined  to  remain.  The  captain  had  his  sword  and 
spurs  on,  and  was  only  waiting  for  me.  I  told  him  the 
news,  and  he  uttered  an  exclamation  of  thankfulness 
that  we  were  all  ready,  and  mounted  immediately.  I 
added  that  I  intended  to  remain.  He  refused ;  said 
that  he  knew  the  sanguinary  character  of  the  people 
better  than  I  did,  and  did  not  wish  to  see  an  affair 
without  having  a  hand  in  it.  I  replied,  and  after  a 
short  controversy,  the  result  was  as  usual  between  two 
obstinate  men  :  I  would  not  go  and  he  would  not  stay. 
I  sent  my  luggage-mules  and  servants  under  his  charge, 
and  he  rode  off,  Jo  stop  for  me  at  a  hacienda  on  the 
road,  while  I  unsaddled  my  horse  and  gave  him  an- 
other mess  of  corn. 

In  the  mean  time  the  news  had  spread,  and  great  ex- 
citement prevailed  in  the  city.  Here  there  was  no 
thought  of  flight ;  the  spirit  of  resistance  was  general. 
The  impressed  soldiers  were  brought  out  from  the  pris- 
ons and  furnished  with  arms,  and  drums  beat  through 
the  streets  for  volunteers.  On  my  return  from  the  Gov- 
ernment House  I  noticed  a  tailor  on  his  board  at  work ; 
when  I  passed  again  his  horse  was  at  the  door,  his  sob- 
bing wife  was  putting  pistols  in  his  holsters,  and  he  was 
fastening  on  his  spurs.  Afterward  I  saw  him  mounted 
before  the  quartel,  receiving  a  lance  with  a  red  flag, 
and  then  galloping  off  to  take  his  place  in  the  line.  In 
two  hours,  all  that  the  impoverished  city  could  do 
was  done.  Vigil,  the  chief  of  the  state,  clerks,  and 
household  servants,  were  preparing  for  the  last  strug- 


gle.  At  twelve  o'clock  the  city  was  as  still  as  death. 
I  lounged  on  the  shady  side  of  the  plaza,  and  the 
quiet  was  fearful.  At  two  o'clock  intelligence  was  re- 
ceived that  the  troops  of  San  Vicente  had  fallen  back 
upon  Cojutepeque,  and  that  the  Honduras  troops  had 
not  yet  come  up.  An  order  was  immediately  issued  to 
make  this  the  rallying-place,  and  to  send  thither  the 
mustering  of  the  city.  About  two  hundred  lancers  set 
off  from  the  plaza  with  a  feeble  shout,  under  a  burning 
sun,  and  I  returned  to  the  house.  The  commotion  sub- 
sided ;  my  excitement  died  away,  and  I  regretted  that 
I  had  not  set  out  with  the  captain,  when,  to  my  surprise, 
he  rode  into  the  courtyard.  On  the  road  he  thought 
that  he  had  left  me  in  the  lurch,  and  that,  as  a  travel- 
ling companion,  he  ought  to  have  remained  with  me. 
I  had  no  such  idea,  but  I  was  glad  of  his  return,  and 
mounted,  and  left  my  capital  to  its  fate,  even  yet  uncer- 
tain whether  I  had  any  government. 
VOL.  II.—H 



Contributions.— El  Baranco  de  Guaramal.— Volcano  of  Izalco.— Depredations  of 
Rascon.— Zonzonate.— News  from  Guatimala. — Journey  continued.— Aguisal- 
co. — Apeneca.— Mountain  of  Aguachapa. — Subterranean  Fires. — Aguachapa. — 
Defeat  of  Morazan.— Confusion  and  Terror. 

THE  captain  had  given  me  a  hint  in  a  led  horse  which 
he  kept  for  emergencies,  and  I  had  bought  one  of  an 
officer  of  General  Morazan,  who  sold  him  because  he 
Would  not  stand  fire,  and  recommended  him  for  a  way 
he  had  of  carrying  his  rider  out  of  the  reach  of  bullets. 
At  the  distance  of  two  leagues  we  reached  a  hacien- 
da where  our  men  were  waiting  for  us  with  the  luggage. 
It  was  occupied  by  a  miserable  old  man  alone,  with  a 
large  swelling  under  his  throat,  very  common  all  through 
this  country,  the  same  as  is  seen  among  the  mountains 
of  Switzerland.  While  the  men  were  reloading,  we 
heard  the  tramp  of  horses,  and  fifteen  or  twenty  lancers 
galloped  up  to  the  fence  ;  and  the  leader,  a  dark,  stern, 
but  respectable-looking  man  about  forty,  in  a  deep  voice, 
called  to  the  old  man  to  get  ready  and  mount ;  the  time 
had  come,  he  said,  when  every  man  must  fight  for  his 
country ;  if  they  had  done  so  before,  their  own  ships 
would  be  floating  on  the  Atlantic  and  the  Pacific,  and 
they  would  not  now  be  at  the  mercy  of  strangers  and 
enemies.  Altogether  the  speech  was  a  good  one,  and 
would  have  done  for  a  fourth  of  July  oration  or  a  ward 
meeting  at  home ;  but  made  from  the  back  of  a  horse 
by  a  powerful  man,  well  armed,  and  with  twenty  lan- 
cers at  his  heels,  it  was  not  pleasant  in  the  ears  of  the 
"  strangers"  for  whom  it  was  intended.  Really  I  re- 
spected the  man's  energy,  but  his  expression  and  man- 
ner precluded  all  courtesies ;  and  though  he  looked  at 


us  for  an  answer,  we  said  nothing.  The  old  man  an- 
swered that  he  was  too  old  to  fight,  and  the  officer  told 
him  then  to  help  others  to  do  so,  and  to  contribute  his 
horses  or  mules.  This  touched  us  again ;  and  taking 
ours  apart,  we  left  exposed  and  alone  an  object  more 
miserable  as  a  beast  than  his  owner  was  as  a  man. 
The  old  man  said  this  was  his  all.  The  officer,  look- 
ing as  if  he  would  like  a  pretext  for  seizing  ours,  told 
him  to  give  her  up  ;  and  the  old  man,  slowly  untying  her, 
without  a  word  led  her  to  the  fence,  and  handed  the 
halter  across  to  one  of  the  lancers.  They  laughed  as 
they  received  the  old  man's  all,  and  pricking  the  mule 
with  their  lances,  galloped  off  in  search  of  more  "  con- 

Unluckily,  they  continued  on  our  road,  and  we  fear- 
ed that  parties  were  scouring  the  whole  country  to  Zon- 
zonate.  This  brought  to  mind  a  matter  that  gave  us 
much  uneasiness.  As  the  mail-routes  were  all  broken 
up,  and  there  was  no  travelling,  I  was  made  letter-car- 
rier all  the  way  from  Nicaragua.  I  had  suffered  so 
much  anxiety  from  not  receiving  any  letters  myself,  that 
I  was  glad  to  serve  any  one  that  asked  me ;  but  I  had 
been  treated  with  great  frankness  by  the  "  party"  at 
San  Salvador,  and  was  resolved  not  to  be  the  means  of 
communicating  anything  to  their  enemies  ;  and  with  this 
view,  always  asked  whether  the  letters  contained  any 
political  information,  never  taking  them  until  assured 
that  they  did  not.  But  many  of  them  were  to  Mr. 
Chatfield  and  the  other  Ingleses  in  Guatimala.  There 
was  a  most  bitter  feeling  against  Mr.  Chatfield,  and  the 
rudeness  of  this  really  respectable-looking  man  gave  us 
some  idea  of  the  exasperation  against  foreigners  gener- 
ally ;  and  as  they  were  identified  in  the  revolution,  the 
directions  alone  might  expose  us  to  danger  with  any 
band  of  infuriated  partisans  who  might  take  it  into  their 


heads  to  search  us  on  the  road.  If  I  had  had  a  safe  op- 
portunity, I  should  have  sent  them  back  to  San  Salvador. 
I  could  not  intrust  them  with  the  old  man,  and  we  de- 
liberated whether  it  was  not  better  to  return,  and  wait 
the  crisis  at  the  capital ;  but  we  thought  it  an  object  to 
get  near  the  coast,  and  perhaps  within  reach  of  a  vessel, 
and  determined  to  continue.  In  about  an  hour  we  pass- 
ed the  same  party  dismounted,  at  some  distance  from  the 
road,  before  the  door  of  a  large  hacienda,  with  some  of 
the  men  inside,  and,  fortunately,  so  far  off  that,  though 
we  heard  them  hallooing  at  us,  we  could  not  understand 
what  they  said.  Soon  after  we  descended  a  wild  mount- 
ain-pass, and  entered  El  Baranco  de  Guaramal,  a  nar- 
row opening,  with  high  perpendicular  sides,  covered 
with  bushes,  wild  flowers,  and  moss,  and  roofed  over 
by  branches  of  large  trees,  which  crossed  each  other 
from  the  opposite  banks.  A  large  stream  forced  its  way 
through  the  ravine,  broken  by  trunks  of  trees  and  huge 
stones.  For  half  a  league  our  road  lay  in  the  bed  of 
the  stream,  knee-deep  for  the  mules.  In  one  place,  on 
the  right-hand  side,  a  beautiful  cascade  precipitated  it- 
self from  the  top  of  the  bank  almost  across  the  ravine. 
A  little  before  dark,  in  a  grassy  recess  at  the  foot  of  the 
bank,  a  pig-merchant  had  encamped  for  the  night.  His 
pigs  were  harnessed  with  straps  and  tied  to  a  tree,  and 
his  wife  was  cooking  supper ;  and  when  we  told  him  of 
the  foraging  party  at  the  other  end  of  the  ravine,  he 
trembled  for  his  pigs.  Some  time  after  dark  we  reach- 
ed the  hacienda  of  Guaramal.  There  was  plenty  of  sa- 
cate  in  an  adjoining  field,  but  we  could  not  get  any 
one  to  cut  it.  The  major-domo  was  an  old  man,  and 
the  workmen  were  afraid  of  snakes.  Bating  this, 
however,  we  fared  well,  and  had  wooden  bedsteads  to 
sleep  on ;  and  in  one  corner  was  a  small  space  parti- 
tioned off  for  the  major-domo  and  his  wife. 


Before  daylight  we  were  in  the  saddle,  and  rode 
till  eleven,  when  we  stopped  at  a  small  village  to  feed 
our  mules  and  avoid  the  heat  of  the  day.  At  three  we 
started.  Toward  evening  I  heard  once  more  the  deep 
rumbling  noise  of  the  Volcano  of  Izalco,  sounding  like 
distant  thunder.  We  passed  along  its  base,  and  stop- 
ped at  the  same  house  at  which  I  had  put  up  on  my 
visit  to  the  volcano.  The  place  was  in  a  state  of  per- 
fect anarchy  and  misrule.  Since  my  departure,  Rascon, 
rendered  more  daring  by  the  abject  policy  of  the  gov- 
ernment, had  entered  Zonzonate,  robbed  the  custom- 
house again,  laid  contributions  upon  some  of  the  citi- 
zens, thence  marched  to  Izalco,  and  quartered  his 
whole  band  upon  the  town.  Unexpectedly,  he  was  sur- 
prised at  night  b'y  a  party  of  Morazan's  soldiers  ;  he 
himself  escaped  in  his  shirt,  but  nineteen  of  his  men 
were  killed  and  his  band  broken  up.  Lately  the  sol- 
diers were  called  off  to  join  Morazan's  expedition,  and 
the  dispersed  band  emerged  from  their  hiding-places. 
Some  were  then  Living  publicly  in  the  town,  perfectly 
lawless  ;  had  threatened  to  kill  the  alcalde  if  he  attempt- 
ed to  disturb  them,  and  kept  the  town  in  a  state  of  ter- 
ror. Among  those  who  reappeared  I  was  told  there  was 
a  young  American  del  Norte,  whom  I  recognised,  from 
the  description,  as  Jemmy,  whom  I  had  put  on  board 
his  ship  at  Acajutla.  He  and  the  other  American  had 
deserted,  and  attempted  to  cross  over  to  the  Atlantic  on 
foot.  On  the  way  they  fell  in  with  Rascon's  band  and 
joined  them.  The  other  man  was  killed  at  the  time  of 
the  rout,  but  Jemmy  escaped.  I  was  happy  to  hear 
that  Jemmy,  by  his  manners  and  good  conduct,  had 
made  a  favourable  impression  upon  the  ladies  of  Izalco. 
He  remained  only  three  days,  and  whither  he  had  gone 
no  one  knew. 




While  listening  to  this  account  we  heard  a  noise  in 
the  street,  and  looking  out  of  the  window,  saw  a  man  on 
the  ground,  and  another  striking  at  him  with  a  white 
club,  which  by  the  moonlight  looked  like  the  blade  of 
a  broadsword  or  machete.  A  crowd  gathered,  mostly 
of  women,  who  endeavoured  to  keep  him  off;  but  he 
struck  among  them  with  blows  that  would  have  killed 
the  man  if  they  had  hit  him.  He  was  one  of  the  Ras- 
con  gang,  a  native  of  the  town,  and  known  from  boy- 
hood as  a  bad  fellow.  All  called  him  by  name,  and, 
more  by  entreaties  than  force,  made  him  desist.  As  he 
walked  off  with  several  of  his  companions,  he  said  that 
the  man  was  a  spy  of  Morazan,  and  the  next  time  he 
met  him  he  would  kill  him.  The  poor  fellow  was 
senseless  ;  and  as  the  women  raised  up  his  head,  we 
saw  with  horror  hairs  white  as  snow,  and  the  face  of  a 
man  of  seventy. "  He  was  all  in  rags,  and  they  told  us 
that  he  was  a  beggar  and  crazy ;  that  he  had  given  no 
provocation  whatever  ;  but  the  young  scoundrel,  in  pass- 
ing, happened  to  fix  his  eyes  upon  him,  and  calling 
him  a  spy  of  Morazan,  knocked  him  down  with  his  club. 
Very  soon  the  crowd  dispersed,  and  the  women  re- 
mained to  take  care  of  the  old  man.  These  were 
times  which  required  the  natural  charity  of  woman  to 
be  aided  by  supernatural  strength.  Every  woman 
dreaded  that  her  husband,  son,  or  brother  should  cross 
the  street  at  night,  for  fear  of  quarrels  and  worse  weap- 
ons than  clubs ;  and  we  saw  five  women,  one  with  a 
candle,  without  a  single  man  or  boy  to  help  them,  sup- 
port the  old  man  across  the  street,  and  set  him  up  with 
his  back  against  the  side  of  the  house.  Afterward  a 
woman  came  to  the  door  and  called  to  the  woman 
in  our  house,  that  if  the  young  man  passed  again  he 
would  kill  him ;  and  they  went  out  again  with  a  can- 

EFFECTS     OF    CIVIL     WAR.  63 

die,  carried  him  into  the  courtyard  of  a  house,  and 
locked  the  door.  The  reader  will  perhaps  cry  shame 
upon  us,  but  we  went  out  once  and  were  urged  to  re- 
tire, and  two  men  were  standing  at  the  window  all 
the  lime.  It  was  natural  to  wish  to  break  the  head  of 
the  young  man,  but  it  was  natural  also  to  avoid  bring- 
ing upon  ourselves  a  gang  which,  though  broken,  was 
strong  enough  to  laugh  at  the  authorities  of  the  town, 
and  to  waylay  us  in  the  wild  road  we  had  to  pass. 
There  was  one  ominous  circumstance  in  the  affair :  that 
in  a  town  in  the  State  of  San  Salvador,  a  man  dared 
threaten  publicly  to  kill  another  because  he  was  a  par- 
tisan of  Morazan,  showed  a  disaffection  in  that  state 
which  surprised  me  more  than  anything  I  had  yet  en- 
countered. Our  men  were  afraid  to  take  the  mules  to 
water,  and  it  was  indispensable  for  them  to  drink. 
We  were  cautioned  against  going  with  them  ;  and  at 
length,  upon  our  standing  in  the  doorway  ready  to 
go  to  their  assistance,  they  set  off  with  loaded  pistols. 
When  I  passed  through  Izalco  before  it  was  a  tranquil 

Early  in  the  morning  we  started,  arrived  at  Zonzonate 
before  breakfast,  and  rode  to  the  house  of  my  friend 
Mr.  De  Nouvelle.  It  was  exactly  two  months  since 
I  left  it,  and,  with  the  exception  of  my  voyage  on  the 
Pacific  and  sickness  at  Costa  Rica,  I  had  not  had  a 
day  of  repose. 

I  was  now  within  four  days  of  Guatimala,  but  the 
difficulty  of  going  on  was  greater  than  ever.  The  cap- 
tain could  procure  no  mules.  No  intelligence  had  been 
received  of  Morazan' s  movements  ;  intercourse  was  en- 
tirely broken  off,  business  at  a  stand,  and  the  people 
anxiously  waiting  for  news  from  Guatimala.  Nobody 
would  set  out  on  that  road.  I  was  very  much  distress- 


ed.  My  engagement  with  Mr.  Catherwood  was  for  a 
specific  time ;  the  rainy  season  was  coming  on,  and  by 
the  loss  of  a  month  I  should  be  prevented  visiting  Pa- 
lenque.  I  considered  it  actually  safer  to  pass  through 
while  all  was  in  this  state  of  suspense,  than  after  the 
floodgates  of  war  were  opened.  Rascon's  band  had 
prevented  my  passing  the  road  before,  and  other  Ras- 
cons  might  spring  up.  The  captain  had  not  the  same 
inducement  to  push  ahead  that  I  had.  I  had  no  idea  of 
incurring  any  unnecessary  risk,  and  on  the  road  would 
have  had  no  hesitation  at  any  time  in  putting  spurs  to 
my  horse ;  but,  on  deliberate  consideration,  my  mind 
was  so  fully  made  up  that  I  determined  to  procure  a 
guide  at  any  price,  and  set  out  alone. 

In  the  midst  of  my  perplexity,  a  tall,  thin,  gaunt-look- 
ing Spaniard,  whose  name  was  Don  Saturnine  Tinocha, 
came  to  see  me.  He  was  a  merchant  from  Costa  Rica, 
so  far  on  his  way  to  Guatimala,  and,  by  the  advice  of 
his  friends  rather  than  his  own  judgment,  had  been  al- 
ready waiting  a  week  at  Zonzonate.  He  was  exactly 
in  the  humour  to  suit  me,  very  anxious  to  reach  Guati- 
mala ;  and  his  views  and  opinions  were  just  the  same  as 
mine.  The  captain  was  indifferent,  and,  at  all  events-, 
could  not  go  unless  he  could  procure  mules.  I  told  Don 
Saturnino  that  I  would  go  at  all  events,  and  he  under- 
took to  provide  for  the  captain.  In  the  evening  he  re- 
turned, with  intelligence  that  he  had  scoured  the  town 
and  could  not  procure  a  single  mule,  but  he  offered  to 
leave  two  of  his  own  cargoes  and  take  the  captain's,  or 
to  sell  him  two  of  his  mules.  I  offered  to  lend  him  my 
horse  or  macho,  and  the  matter  was  arranged. 

In  the  midst  of  the  war-rumours,  the  next  day,  which 
was  Sunday,  was  one  of  the  most  quiet  I  passed  in  Cen- 
tral America.  It  was  at  the  hacienda  of  Dr.  Drivin, 


about  a  league  from  Zonzonate.  This  was  one  of  the 
finest  haciendas  in  the  country.  The  doctor  had  import- 
ed a  large  steam  engine,  which  was  not  yet  set  up,  and 
was  preparing  to  manufacture  sugar  upon  a  larger  scale 
than  any  other  planter  in  the  country.  He  was  from 
the  island  of  St.  Kitts,  and,  before  sitting  down  in  this 
out-of-the-way  place,  had  travelled  extensively  in  Eu- 
rope and  all  the  West  India  Islands,  and  knew  Amer- 
ica from  Halifax  to  Cape  Horn ;  but  surprised  me  by 
saying  that  he  lookfc  forward  to  a  cottage  in  Morristown, 
New-Jersey,  as  the  consummation  of  his  wishes.  I 
learned  from  him  that  Jemmy,  after  his  disappearance 
from  Izalco,  had  straggled  to  his  hacienda  in  wretched 
condition  and  sick  of  campaigning,  and  was  then  at  the 
port  on  board  the  Cosmopolita,  bound  for  Peru. 

On  our  return  to  Zonzonate  we  were  again  in  the 
midst  of  tumult.  Two  of  Captain  D'Yriarte's  passen- 
gers for  Guayaquil,  whom  he  had  given  up,  arrived  that 
evening  direct  from  Guatimala,  and  reported  that  Car- 
rera,  with  two  thousand  men,  had  left  the  city  at  the 
same  time  with  them  to  march  upon  San  Salvador.  Car- 
rera  knew  nothing  of  Morazan's  approach ;  his  troops 
were  a  disorderly  and  tumultuous  mass ;  and  three 
leagues  from  the  city,  when  they  halted,  the  horses 
were  already  tired.  Here  our  informants  slipped  away, 
and  three  hours  afterward  met  Morazan's  army,  in 
good  order,  marching  single  file,  with  Morazan  himself 
at  their  head,  he  and  all  his  cavalry  dismounted  and 
leading  their  horses,  which  were  fresh  and  ready  for 
immediate  action.  Morazan  stopped  them,  and  made 
them  show  their  passports  and  letters,  and  they  told  him 
of  the  sally  of  Carrera's  army,  and  its  condition ;  and 
we  all  formed  the  conclusion  that  Morazan  had  attacked 
them  the  same  day,  defeated  them,  and  was  then  in 

VOL.  II.— I 


possession  of  Guatimala.  Upon  the  whole,  we  consid- 
ered the  news  favourable  to  us,  as  his  first  business 
would  be  to  make  the  roads  secure. 

At  three  o'clock  the  next  morning  we  were  again  in 
the  saddle.  A  stream  of  fire  was  rolling  down  the  Vol- 
cano of  Izalco,  bright,  but  paler  by  the  moonlight.  The 
road  was  good  for  two  leagues,  when  we  reached  the 
Indian  village  of  Aguisalco.  Our  mules  were  overload- 
ed, and  one  of  Don  Saturnino's  gave  out  entirely.  We 
tried  to  procure  others  or  Indian  carriers,  but  no  one 
would  move  from  home.  Don  Saturnino  loaded  his 
saddle-mule,  and  walked ;  and  if  it  had  not  been  for 
his  indefatigable  perseverance,  we  should  have  been 
compelled  to  stop. 

At  one  o'clock  we  reached  Apeneca,  and  rode  up  to 
one  of  the  best  houses,  where  an  old  man  and  his  wife 
undertook  to  give  us  breakfast.  Our  mules  presented 
a  piteous  spectacle.  Mine,  which  had  carried  my  light 
luggage  like  a  feather  all  the  way  from  La  Union,  had 
gone  on  with  admirable  steadiness  up  hill  and  down 
dale,  but  when  we  stopped  she  trembled  in  every  limb, 
and  before  the  cargo  was  removed  I  expected  to  see  her 
fall.  Nicolas  and  the  muleteer  said  she  would  certainly 
die,  and  the  faithful  brute  seemed  to  look  at  me  re- 
proachfully  for  having  suffered  so  heavy  a  load  to  be  put 
upon  her  back.  I  tried  to  buy  or  hire  another,  but  all 
were  removed  one  or  two  days'  journey  out  of  the  line 
of  march  of  the  soldiers. 

It  was  agreed  that  I  should  go  on  to  Aguachapa  and 
endeavour  to  have  other  mules  ready  early  the  next 
morning;  but  in  the  mean  time  the  captain  conceived 
some  suspicions  of  the  old  man  and  woman,  and  re- 
solved not  to  remain  that  night  in  the  village.  Fortu- 
nately, my  mule  revived  and  began  to  eat.  Don  Sat 

A     REGION     OF    FIRE.  67 

urnino  repeated  his  'sta  bueno,  with  which  he  had 
cheered  us  through  all  the  perplexities  of  the  day,  and 
we  determined  to  set  out  again.  Neither  of  us  had  any 
luggage  he  was  willing  to  leave,  for  in  all  probability 
he  would  never  see  it  again.  We  loaded  our  saddle- 
beasts  and  walked.  Immediately  on  leaving  the  village 
we  commenced  ascending  the  mountain  of  Aguachapa, 
the  longest  and  worst  in  the  whole  road,  in  the  wet  sea- 
son requiring  two  days  to  cross  it.  A  steep  pitch  at, 
the  beginning  made'  me  tremble  for  the  result.  The  as- 
cent was  about  three  miles,  and  on  the  very  crest,  im- 
bowered  among  the  trees,  was  a  blacksmith's  shop, 
commanding  a  view  of  the  whole  country  back  to  the 
village,  and  on  the  other  side,  of  the  slope  of  the  mount- 
ain to  the  plain  of  Aguachapa.  The  clink  of  the  ham- 
mer and  the  sight  of  a  smith's  grimed  face  seemed  a 
profanation  of  the  beauties  of  the  scene.  Here  our  dif- 
ficulties were  over  ;  the  rest  of  our  road  was  down  hill. 
The  road  lay  along  the  ridge  of  the  mountain.  On  our 
right  we  looked  down  the  perpendicular  side  to  a  plain 
two  thousand  feet  below  us ;  and  in  front,  on  another 
part  of  the  same  plain,  were  the  lake  and  town  of 
Aguachapa.  Instead  of  going  direct  to  the  town,  we 
turned  round  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  and  came  into 
a  field  smoking  with  hot  springs.  The  ground  was 
incrusted  with  sulphur,  and  dried  and  baked  by  sub- 
terranean fires.  In  some  places  were  large  orifices, 
from  which  steam  rushed  out  violently  and  with  noise, 
and  in  others  large  pools  or  lakes,  one  of  them  a 
hundred  and  fifty  feet  in  circumference,  of  dark  brown 
water,  boiling  with  monstrous  bubbles  three  or  four  feet 
high,  which  Homer  might  have  made  the  head-waters 
of  Acheron.  All  around,  for  a  great  extent,  the  earth 
was  in  a  state  of  combustion,  burning  our  boots  and 


frightening  the  horses,  and  we  were  obliged  to  be  care- 
ful to  keep  the  horses  from  falling  through.  At  some 
distance  was  a  stream  of  sulphur-water,  which  we  fol- 
lowed up  to  a  broad  basin,  made  a  dam  with  stones 
and  bushes,  and  had  a  most  refreshing  warm  bath. 

It  was  nearly  dark  when  we  entered  the  town,  the 
frontier  of  the  state  and  the  outpost  of  danger.  All 
were  on  the  tiptoe  of  expectation  for  news  from  Guati- 
mala.  Riding  through  the  plaza,  we  saw  a  new  corps 
of  about  two  hundred  "patriot  soldiers,"  uniformed  and 
equipped,  at  evening  drill,  which  was  a  guarantee  against 
the  turbulence  we  had  seen  in  Izalco.  Colonel  Angou- 
la,  the  commandant,  was  the  same  who  had  broken  up 
the  band  of  Rascon.  Every  one  we  met  was  astonish- 
ed at  our  purpose  of  going  on  to  Guatimala,  and  it  was 
vexatious  and  discouraging  to  have  ominous  cautions 
perpetually  dinned  into  our  ears.  We  rode  to  the  house 
of  the  widow  Padilla,  a  friend  of  Don  Saturnine,  whom 
we  found  in  great  affliction.  Her  eldest  son,  on  a  visit 
to  Guatimala  on  business,  with  a  regular  passport,  had 
been  thrown  into  prison  by  Carrera,  and  had  then  been 
a  month  in  confinement ;  and  she  had  just  learned,  what 
had  been  concealed  from  her,  that  the  other  son,  a  young 
man  just  twenty-one,  had  joined  Morazan's  expedition. 
Our  purpose  of  going  to  Guatimala  opened  the  fountain 
of  her  sorrows.  She  mourned  for  her  sons,  but  the  case 
of  the  younger  seemed  to  give  her  most  distress.  She 
mourned  that  he  had  become  a  soldier ;  she  had  seen 
so  much  of  the  horrors  of  war  ;  and,  as  if  speaking  of  a 
truant  boy,  begged  us  to  urge  General  Morazan  to  send 
him  home.  She  was  still  in  black  for  their  father,  who 
was  a  personal  friend  of  General  Morazan,  and  had, 
besides,  three  daughters,  all  young  women,  the  eldest 
not  more  than  twenty-three,  married  to  Colonel  Molina, 


the  second  in  command;  all  were  celebrated  in  that 
country  for  their  beauty ;  and  though  the  circum- 
stances of  the  night  prevented  my  seeing  much  of 
them,  I  looked  upon  this  as  one  of  the  most  lady- 
like and  interesting  family  groups  I  had  seen  in  the 

Our  first  inquiry  was  for  mules.  Colonel  Molina,  the 
son-in-law,  after  endeavouring  to  dissuade  us  from  con- 
tinuing, sent  out  to  make  inquiries,  and  the  result  was 
that  there  were  none  to  hire,  but  there  was  a  man  who 
had  two  to  sell,  and  who  promised  to  bring  them  early 
in  the  morning.  We  had  vexations  enough  without  add- 
ing any  between  ourselves  ;  but,  unfortunately,  the  cap- 
tain and  Don  Saturnino  had  an  angry  quarrel,  growing 
out  of  the  breaking  down  of  the  mules.  I  was  appeal- 
ed to  by  both,  and  in  trying  to  keep  the  peace  came 
near  having  both  upon  me.  The  dispute  was  so  violent 
that  none  of  the  female  part  of  the  family  appeared  in 
the  sala,  and  while  it  was  pending  Colonel  Molina  was 
called  off  by  a  message  from  the  commandant.  In  half 
an  hour  he  returned,  and  told  us  that  two  soldiers  had 
just  entered  the  town,  who  reported  that  Morazan  had 
been  defeated  in  his  attack  on  Guatimala,  and  his  whole 
army  routed  and  cut  to  pieces ;  that  he  himself,  with 
fifteen  dragoons,  was  escaping  by  the  way  of  the  coast, 
and  the  whole  of  Carr era's  army  was  in  full  pursuit. 
The  soldiers  were  at  first  supposed  to  be  deserters,  but 
they  were  recognised  by  some  of  the  town's  people ; 
and  after  a  careful  examination  and  calculation  of  the 
lapse  of  time  since  the  last  intelligence,  the  news  was 
believed  to  be  true.  The  consternation  it  created  in 
our  little  household  cannot  be  described.  Morazan's 
defeat  was  the  death-knell  of  sons  and  brothers.  It 


was  not  a  moment  for  strangers  to  offer  idle  consola- 
tion, and  we  withdrew. 

Our  own  plans  were  unsettled  ;  the  very  dangers  I 
feared  had  happened ;  the  soldiers,  who  had  been  kept 
together  in  masses,  were  disbanded  to  sweep  every  road 
in  the  country  with  the  ferocity  of  partisan  war.  But 
for  the  night  we  could  do  nothing.  Our  men  were  al- 
ready asleep,  and,  not  without  apprehensions,  the  captain 
and  I  retired  to  a  room  opening  upon  the  courtyard. 
Don  Saturnine  wrapped  himself  in  his  poncha  and  lay 
down  under  the  corridor. 

None  of  us  undressed,  but  the  fatigue  of  the  day  had 
been  so  great  that  I  soon  fell  into  a  profound  sleep. 
At  one  o'clock  we  were  roused  by  Colonel  Molina 
shouting  in  the  doorway  "  La  gente  vienne  !"  "  The 
people  are  coming!"  His  sword  glittered,  his  spurs 
rattled,  and  by  the  moonlight  I  saw  men  saddling  horses 
in  the  courtyard.  "We  sprang  up  in  a  moment,  and  he 
told  us  to  save  ourselves;  "la  gente"  were  coming, 
and  within  two  hours'  march  of  the  town.  My  first 
question  was,  What  had  become  of  the  soldiers  ?  They 
were  already  marching  out ;  everybody  was  preparing 
to  fly ;  he  intended  to  escort  the  ladies  to  a  hiding- 
place  in  the  mountains,  and  then  to  overtake  the  sol- 
diers. I  must  confess  that  my  first  thought  was  "  devil 
take  the  hindmost,"  and  I  ordered  Nicolas,  who  was 
fairly  blubbering  with  fright,  to  saddle  for  a  start.  The 
captain,  however,  objected,  insisting  that  to  fly  would 
be  to  identify  ourselves  with  the  fugitives;  and  if  we 
were  overtaken  with  them  we  should  certainly  be  mas- 
sacred. Don  Saturnine  proposed  to  set  out  on  our 
journey,  and  go  straight  on  to  a  hacienda  two  leagues 
beyond  ;  if  we  met  them  on  the  road  we  would  appear 
as  travellers  ;  in  their  hurry  they  would  let  us  pass ; 


and,  at  all  events,  we  would  avoid  the  dangers  of  a 
general  sacking  and  plunder  of  the  town.     I  approved 
of  this  suggestion  ;  the  fact  is,  I  was  for  anything  that 
put  us  on  horseback ;  but  the  captain  again  opposed  it 
violently.     Unluckily,  he  had  four  large,  heavy  trunks 
containing  jewelry  and  other  valuables,  and  no  mules 
to  carry  them.     I  made  a  hurried  but  feeling  comment 
upon  the  comparative  value  of  life  and  property;  but 
the  captain  said  that  all  he  was  worth  in  the  world  was 
in  those  trunks;  he  would  not  leave  them;  he  would 
not  risk  them  on  the  road ;  he  would  defend  them  as 
long  as  he  had  life ;  and,  taking  them  up  one  by  one 
from  the  corridor,  he  piled  them  inside  of  our  little 
sleeping-room,  shut  the  door,  and  swore  that  nobody 
should  get  into  them  without  passing  over  his  dead 
body.     Now  I,  for  my  own  part,  would  have  taken  a 
quiet  stripping,  and  by  no  means  approved  this  desper- 
ate purpose  of  the  captain's.     The  fact  is,  I  was  very 
differently  situated  from  him.     My  property  was  chiefly 
in  horseflesh  and  muleflesh,  at  the  moment  the  most  desi- 
rable thing  in  which  money  could  be  invested ;  and  with 
two  hours'  start,  I  would  have  defied  all  the  Cachure- 
cos  in  Guatimala  to  catch  me.     But  the  captain's  deter- 
mination put  an  end  to  all  thoughts  of  testing  the  sound- 
ness of  my  investment ;  and  perhaps,  at  all  events,  it 
was  best  to  remain. 

I  entered  the  house,  where  the  old  lady  and  her 
daughters  were  packing  up  their  valuables,  and  passed 
through  to  the  street.  The  church  bells  were  tolling 
with  a  frightful  sound,  and  a  horseman,  with  a  red  ban- 
neret on  the  point  of  his  lance,  was  riding  through  the 
streets  warning  the  inhabitants  to  fly.  Horses  were 
standing  before  the  doors  saddled  and  bridled,  and  all 
along  men  were  issuing  from  the  doors  with  loads  on 


their  backs,  and  women  with  packages  and  bundles  in 
their  hands,  and  hurrying  children  before  them.  The 
moon  was  beaming  with  unrivalled  splendour  ;  the 
women  did  not  scream,  the  children  did  not  cry  ;  ter- 
ror was  in  every  face  and  movement,  but  too  deep  for 
utterance.  I  walked  down  to  the  church  ;  the  cura 
was  at  the  altar,  receiving  hurried  confessions  and  ad- 
ministering the  sacrament ;  and  as  the  wretched  inhab- 
itants left  the  altar  they  fled  from  the  town.  I  saw  a 
poor  mother  searching  for  a  missing  child ;  but  her 
friends,  in  hoarse  whispers,  said,  "  La  gente  vienne !" 
and  hurried  her  away.  A  long  line  of  fugitives,  with 
loaded  mules  interspersed,  was  moving  from  the  door 
of  the  church,  and  disappearing  beneath  the  brow  of 
the  hill.  It  was  the  first  time  I  ever  saw  terror  operating 
upon  masses,  and  I  hope  never  to  see  it  again.  I  went 
back  to  the  house.  The  family  of  Padilla  had  not  left, 
and  the  poor  widow  was  still  packing  up.  We  urged 
Colonel  Molina  to  hasten ;  as  commandant,  he  would 
be  the  first  victim.  He  knew  his  danger,  but  in  a  tone 
of  voice  that  told  the  horrors  of  this  partisan  war,  said 
he  could  not  leave  behind  him  the  young  women.  In 
a  few  moments  all  was  ready ;  the  old  lady  gave  us  the 
key  of  the  house,  we  exchanged  the  Spanish  farewell 
with  a  mutual  recommendation  to  God,  and  sadly  and 
silently  they  left  the  town.  Colonel  Molina  remained 
a  moment  behind.  Again  he  urged  us  to  fly,  saying 
that  the  enemy  were  robbers,  murderers,  and  assassins, 
who  would  pay  no  respect  to  person  or  character,  and 
disappointment  at  finding  the  town  deserted  would 
make  them  outrageous  with  us.  He  drove  his  spurs 
into  his  horse,  and  we  never  saw  him  again.  On  the 
steps  of  the  church  were  sick  and  infirm  old  men  and 
children,  and  the  cura's  house  was  thronged  with  the 

A     TOWN     DESERTED.  73 

same  helpless  beings.  Except  these,  we  were  left  in 
sole  possession  of  the  town. 

It  was  not  yet  an  hour  since  we  had  been  roused 
from  sleep.  We  had  not  been  able  to  procure  any  def- 
inite information  as  to  the  character  of  the  approaching 
force.  The  alarm  was  "  la  gente  vienne  ;"  no  one  knew 
or  thought  of  more,  no  one  paid  any  attention  to  us, 
and  we  did  not  know  whether  the  whole  army  of  Car- 
rera  was  approaching,  or  merely  a  roving  detachment. 
If  the  former,  my  hope  was  that  Carrera  was  with 
them,  and  that  he  had  not  forgotten  my  diplomatic 
coat ;  I  felt  rejoiced  that  the  soldiers  had  marched  out, 
and  that  the  inhabitants  had  fled  ;  there  could  be  no  re- 
sistance, no  bloodshed,  nothing  to  excite  a  lawless  sol- 
diery. Again  we  walked  down  to  the  church ;  old 
women  and  little  boys  gathered  around  us,  and  wonder- 
ed that  we  did  not  fly.  We  went  to  the  door  of  the 
cura's  house  ;  the  room  was  small,  and  full  of  old  wom- 
en. We  tried  to  cheer  them,  but  old  age  had  lost  its 
garrulity ;  they  waited  their  fate  in  silence.  We  re- 
turned to  the  house,  smoked,  and  waited  in  anxious 
expectation.  The  enemy  did  not  come,  the  bell  ceas- 
ed its  frightful  tolling,  and  after  a  while  we  began  to 
wish  they  would  come,  and  let  us  have  the  thing  over. 
We  went  out,  and  looked,  and  listened  ;  but  there  was 
neither  sound  nor  motion.  We  became  positively  tired 
of  waiting  ;  there  were  still  two  hours  to  daylight ;  we 
lay  down,  and,  strange  to  say,  again  fell  asleep. 

VOL.   IL— K  7 



Approach  of  Carrera's  Forces.— Terror  of  the  Inhabitants. — Their  Flight.— Sur- 
render of  the  Town.— Ferocity  of  the  Soldiery. — A  Bulletin.— Diplomacy. — A 
Passport. — A  Breakfast.— An  Alarm.— The  Widow  Padilla.— An  Attack. — De- 
feat of  Carrera's  Forces.— The  Town  taken  by  General  Morazan  — His  Entry. 
— The  Widow's  Son. — Visit  to  General  Morazan. — His  Appearance,  Character, 
&c. — Plans  deranged. 

IT  was  broad  daylight  when  we  woke,  without  any 
machete  cuts,  and  still  in  undisturbed  possession  of  the 
town.  My  first  thought  was  for  the  mules ;  they  had 
eaten  up  their  sacate,  and  had  but  a  poor  chance  for 
more,  but  I  sent  them  immediately  to  the  river  for  wa- 
ter. They  had  hardly  gone  when  a  little  boy  ran  in 
from  the  church,  and  told  us  that  la  gente  were  in 
sight.  We  hurried  back  with  him,  and  the  miserable 
beings  on  the  steps,  with  new  terrors,  supposing  that 
we  were  friends  of  the  invaders,  begged  us  to  save 
them.  Followed  by  three  or  four  trembling  boys,  we 
ascended  to  the  steeple,  and  saw  the  Cachurecos  at  a 
distance,  descending  the  brow  of  a  hill  in  single  file,  their 
muskets  glittering  in  the  sunbeams.  We  saw  that  it 
was  not  the  whole  of  Carrera's  army,  but  apparently 
only  a  pioneer  company  ;  but  they  were  too  many  for 
us,  and  the  smallness  of  their  numbers  gave  them  the 
appearance  of  a  lawless  predatory  band.  They  had 
still  to  cross  a  long  plain  and  ascend  the  hill  on  which 
the  town  was  built.  The  bellrope  was  in  reach  of  my 
hand  ;  I  gave  it  one  strong  pull,  and  telling  the  boys  to 
sound  loud  the  alarm,  hurried  down.  As  we  passed  out 
of  the  church,  we  heard  loud  cries  from  the  old  women 
in  the  house  of  the  cura  ;  and  the  old  men  and  children 
on  the  steps  asked  us  whether  they  would  be  murdered. 


The  mules  had  not  returned,  and,  afraid  of  their 
being  intercepted  in  the  street,  I  ran  down  a  steep  hill 
toward  the  river,  and  meeting  them,  hurried  back  to 
the  house.  While  doing  so  I  saw  at  the  extreme  end 
of  the  street  a  single  soldier  moving  cautiously ;  and 
watching  carefully  every  house,  as  if  suspecting  treach- 
ery, he  advanced  with  a  letter  directed  to  Colonel  An- 
goula.  The  captain  told  him  that  he  must  seek  An- 
goula  among  the  mountains.  We  inquired  the  name 
of  his  commanding  officer,  how  many  men  he  had,  said 
that  there  was  no  one  to  oppose  him,  and  forthwith  sur- 
rendered the  town.  The  man  could  hardly  believe  that 
it  was  deserted.  General  Figoroa  did  not  know  itj 
he  had  halted  at  a  short  distance,  afraid  to  make  the  at- 
tack at  night,  and  was  then  expecting  immediate  battle. 
He  himself  could  not  have  been  much  better  pleased  at 
avoiding  it  than  we  were.  The  envoy  returned,  and  in 
a  short  time  we  saw  at  the  extreme  end  of  the  street 
the  neck  of  a  horse  protruding  from  the  cross-street  on 
the  left.  A  party  of  cavalry  armed  with  lances  follow- 
ed, formed  at  the  head  of  the  street,  looking  about  them 
carefully  as  if  still  suspecting  an  ambush.  In  a  few 
moments  General  Figoroa,  mounted  on  a  fierce  little 
horse,  without  uniform,  but  with  dark  wool  saddle-cloth, 
pistols,  and  basket-hilted  sword,  making  a  warlike  ap- 
pearance, came  up,  leading  the  van.  We  took  off  our 
hats  as  he  approached  our  door,  and  he  returned  the  sa- 
lute. About  a  hundred  lancers  followed  him,  two 
abreast,  with  red  flags  on  the  ends  of  their  lances,  and 
pistols  in  their  holsters.  In  passing,  one  ferocious-look- 
ing fellow  looked  fiercely  at  us,  and  grasping  his  lance, 
cried  "Viva  Carrera."  We  did  not  answer  it  imme- 
diately, and  he  repeated  it  in  a  tone  that  brought  forth 
the  response  louder  and  more  satisfactory,  from  the 


spite  with  which  it  was  given  ;  the  next  man  repeated 
it,  and  the  next ;  and  before  we  were  aware  of  our  po- 
sition, every  lancer  that  passed,  in  a  tone  of  voice  reg- 
ulated by  the  gentleness  or  the  ferocity  of  his  disposi- 
tion, and  sometimes  with  a  most  threatening  scowl,  put 
to  us  as  a  touchstone  "  Viva  Carrera." 

The  infantry  were  worse  than  the  lancers  in  appear- 
ance, being  mostly  Indians,  ragged,  half  naked,  with 
old  straw  hats  and  barefooted,  armed  with  muskets  and 
machetes,  and  many  with  oldfashioned  Spanish  blun- 
derbusses. They  vied  with  each  other  in  sharpness  and 
ferocity,  and  sometimes  actually  levelling  their  pieces, 
cried  at  us  "  Viva  Carrera."  "We  were  taken  com- 
pletely unawares ;  there  was  no  escape,  and  I  believe 
they  would  have  shot  us  down  on  the  spot  if  we  had  re- 
fused to  echo  the  cry.  I  compromised  with  my  dignity 
by  answering  no"louder  than  the  urgency  of  the  case  re- 
quired, but  I  never  passed  through  a  more  trying  ordeal. 
Don  Saturnine  had  had  the  prudence  to  keep  out  of 
sight ;  but  the  captain,  who  had  intended  to  campaign 
against  these  fellows,  never  flinched,  and  when  the  last 
man  passed  added  an  extra  "  Viva  Carrera."  I  again 
felt  rejoiced  that  the  soldiers  had  left  the  town  and  that 
there  had  been  no  fight.  It  would  have  been  a  fearful 
thing  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  such  men,  with  their  pas- 
sions roused  by  resistance  and  bloodshed.  Reaching 
the  plaza,  they  gave  a  general  shout  of  "  Viva  Carrera,'* 
and  stacked  their  arms.  In  a  few  minutes  a  party  of 
them  came  down  to  our  house  and  asked  for  breakfast ; 
and  when  we  could  not  give  them  that,  they  begged  a 
medio  or  sixpence.  By  degrees  others  came  in,  until 
the  room  was  full.  They  were  really  no  great  gainers 
by  taking  the  town.  They  had  had  no  breakfast,  and 
the  town  was  completely  stripped  of  eatables.  We  in- 

A.     BULLETIN.  77 

quired  the  news  from  Guatiraala,  and  bought  from  them 
several  copies  of  the  "  Parte  Official"  of  the  Supreme 
Government,  headed  "  Viva  la  Patria  !  Viva  el  Gener- 
al Carrera !  The  enemy  has  been  completely  extermi- 
nated in  his  attack  upon  this  city,  which  he  intended  to 
devastate.  The  tyrant  Morazan  flies  terrified,  leaving 
the  plaza  and  streets  strewed  with  corpses  sacrificed  to 
his  criminal  ambition.  The  principal  officers  associated 
in  his  staff  have  perished,  &c.  Eternal  glory  to  the  In- 
vincible Chief  GENERAL  CARRERA,  and  the  valiant  troops 
under  his  command."  They  told  us  that  Carrera,  with 
three  thousand  men,  was  in  full  pursuit.  In  a  little 
while  the  demand  for  sixpences  became  so  frequent, 
that,  afraid  of  being  supposed  to  have  mucha  plata, 
we  walked  to  the  plaza  to  present  ourselves  to  General 
Figoroa,  and  settle  the  terms  of  our  surrender,  or,  at  all 
events,  to  "  define  our  position."  We  found  him  at 
the  cabildo,  quite  at  home,  with  a  parcel  of  officers, 
white  men,  Mestitzoes,  and  mulattoes,  smoking,  and  in- 
terrogating some  old  men  from  the  church  as  to  the 
movements  of  Colonel  Angoula  and  the  soldiers,  the 
time  of  their  setting  out,  and  the  direction  they  took. 
He  was  a  young  man — all  the  men  in  that  country  were 
young — about  thirty-two  or  three,  dressed  in  a  snuff-col- 
oured cloth  roundabout  jacket,  and  pantaloons  of  the 
same  colour ;  and  off  his  warhorse,  and  away  from  his 
assassin-like  band,  had  very  much  the  air  of  an  honest 
man.  • 

It  was  one  of  the  worst  evils  of  this  civil  war  that  no 
respect  was  paid  to  the  passports  of  opposite  parties, 
The  captain  had  only  his  San  Salvador  passport,  which 
was  here  worse  than  worthless.  Don  Saturnine  had  a 
variety  from  partisan  commandants,  and  upon  this  oc- 
casion made  use  of  one  from  a  colonel  under  Ferrera. 



The  captain  introduced  me  by  the  title  of  Senor  Minis- 
tro  del  Norte  America,  and  1  made  myself  acceptable  by 
saying  that  I  had  been  to  San  Salvador  in  search  of  a 
government,  and  had  not  been  able  to  find  any.  The 
fact  is,  although  I  was  not  able  to  get  into  regular  bu- 
siness, I  was  practising  diplomacy  on  my  own  account 
all  the  time ;  and  in  order  to  define  at  once  and  clearly 
our  relative  positions,  I  undertook  to  do  the  honours  of 
the  town,  and  invited  General  Figoroa  and  all  his  offi- 
cers to  breakfast.  This  was  a  bold  stroke,  but  Talley- 
rand could  not  have  touched  a  nicer  chord.  They  had 
not  eaten  anything  since  noon  the  day  before,  and  I  be- 
lieve they  would  have  evacuated  their  empty  conquest 
for  a  good  breakfast  all  round.  They  accepted  my 
invitation  with  a  promptness  that  put  an  end  to  my 
small  stock  of  prpvisions  for  the  road.  General  Figo- 
roa confirmed  the  intelligence  of  Morazan's  defeat  and 
flight,  and  Carrera's  pursuit,  and  the  "  invincible  chief" 
would  perhaps  have  been  somewhat  surprised  at  the 
pleasure  I  promised  myself  in  meeting  him. 

With  a  very  few  moments'  interchange  of  opinion, 
we  made  up  our  minds  to  get  out  of  this  frontier  town 
as  soon  as  possible,  and  again  to  go  forward.  I-  had 
almost  abandoned  ulterior  projects,  and  looked  only  to 
personal  safety.  To  go  back,  we  reasoned,  would  car- 
ry us  into  the  very  focus  of  war  and  danger.  The  San 
Salvador  people  were  furious  against  strangers,  and  the 
Honduras  troops  wefe  invading  them  on  one  side,  and 
Carrera's  hordes  on  the  other.  To  remain  where  we 
were  was  certain  exposure  to  attacks  from  both  parties. 
By  going  on  we  would  meet  Carrera's  troops,  and  if  we 
passed  them  we  left  war  behind  us.  We  had  but  one 
risk,  and  that  would  be  tested  in  a  day.  Under  this  belief, 
I  told  the  general  that  we  designed  proceeding  to  Gua- 

A     B  R  E  A  K  F  A  S  T.  79 

timala,  and  that  it  would  add  to  our  security  to  have  his 
passport.  It  was  the  general's  first  campaign.  He  was 
then  only  a  few  days  in  service,  having  set  off  in  a  hur- 
ry to  get  possession  of  this  town,  and  cut  off  Morazan's 
retreat.  He  was  flattered  by  the  request,  and  said  that 
his  passport  would  be  indispensable.  His  aid  and  sec- 
retary had  been  clerk  in  an  apothecary's  shop  in  Guati- 
mala,  and  therefore  understood  the  respect  due  to  a 
ministro,  and  said  that  he  would  make  it  out  himself. 
I  was  all  eagerness  to  get  possession  of  this  passport. 
The  captain,  in  courtesy,  said  we  were  in  no  hurry.  I 
dismissed  courtesy,  and  said  that  we  were  in  a  hurry ; 
that  we  must  set  out  immediately  after  breakfast.  I 
was  afraid  of  postponements,  delays,  and  accidents, 
and  in  spite  of  impediments  and  inconveniences,  I  per- 
sisted till  I  got  the  secretary  down  at  the  table,  who, 
without  any  trouble,  and  by  a  mere  flourish  of  the  pen, 
made  me  "  ministro  plenipotentiario."  The  captain's 
name  was  inserted  in  the  passport,  General  Figoroa 
signed  it,  and  I  put  it  in  my  pocket,  after  which  I 
breathed  more  freely. 

We  returned  to  the  house,  and  in  a  few  minutes  the 
general,  his  secretary,  and  two  mulatto  officers  came 
over  to  breakfast.  It  was  very  considerate  in  them  that 
they  did  not  bring  more.  Our  guests  cared  more  for 
quantity  than  quality,  and  this  was  the  particular  in 
which  we  were  most  deficient.  We  had  plenty  of  choc- 
olate, a  stock  of  bread  for  the  road,  and  some  eggs  that 
were  found  in  the  house.  We  put  on  the  table  all  that 
we  had,  and  gave  the  general  the  seat  of  honour  at  the 
head.  One  of  the  officers  preferred  sitting  away  on  a 
bench,  and  eating  his  eggs  with  his  fingers.  It  is  un- 
pleasant for  a  host  to  be  obliged  to  mark  the  quantity 
that  his  guests  eat,  but  I  must  say  I  was  agreeably  dis- 


appointed.  If  I  had  been  breakfasting  with  them  in- 
stead of  vice  versa,  I  could  have  astonished  them  as 
much  as  their  voracious  ancestors  did  the  Indians. 
The  breakfast  was  a  neat  fit ;  there  was  none  over,  and 
I  believe  nothing  short. 

There  was  but  one  unpleasant  circumstance  attend- 
ant upon  it,  viz.,  General  Figoroa  requested  us  to  wait 
an  hour,  until  he  could  prepare  despatches  to  Carrera, 
advising  him  of  his  occupation  of  Aguachapa.  I  was 
extremely  anxious  to  get  away  while  the  game  was 
good.  Of  General  Figoroa  and  his  secretary  we  thought 
favourably ;  but  we  saw  that  he  had  no  control  over  his 
men,  and  as  long  as  we  were  in  the  town  we  should  be 
subject  to  their  visits,  inquiries,  and  importunities,  and 
some  difficulties  might  arise.  At  the  same  time,  de- 
spatches to  Carrera  would  be  a  great  security  on  the 
road.  Don  Saturnine  undertook  to  set  off  with  the 
luggage,  and  we,  glad  of  the  opportunity  of  travelling 
without  any  encumbrance,  charged  him  to"  push  on  as 
fast  as  he  could,  not  to  stop  for  us,  and  we  would  over- 
take him. 

In  about  an  hour  we  walked  over  to  the  plaza  for  the 
despatches,  but  unluckily  found  ourselves  in  a  new  scene 
of  confusion.  Figoroa  was  already  in  the  saddle,  the 
lancers  were  mounting  in  haste,  and  all  running  to 
arms.  A  scout  had  brought  in  word  that  Colonel  An- 
goula,  with  the  soldiers  of  the  town,  was  hovering  on 
the  skirt  of  the  mountain,  and  our  friends  were  hurrying 
to  attack  them.  In  a  moment  the  lancers  were  off  on  a 
gallop,  and  the  ragged  infantry  snatched  up  their  guns 
and  ran  after  them,  keeping  up  with  the  horses.  The 
letter  to  Carrera  was  partly  written,  and  the  aiddecamp 
asked  us  to  wait,  telling  us  that  the  affair  would  soon  be 
over.  He  was  left  in  command  of  about  seventy  or 

AN    ALARM.  81 

eighty  men,  and  we  sat  down  with  him  under  the  cor- 
ridor of  the  quartel.  He  was  several  years  younger 
than  Figoroa,  more  intelligent,  and  seemed  very  amia- 
ble except  on  political  matters,  and  there  he  was  savage 
against  the  Morazan  party.  He  was  gentlemanly  in  his 
manners,  but  his  coat  was  out  at  the  elbows,  and  his 
pantaloons  were  torn.  He  said  he  had  a  new  frock- 
coat,  for  which  he  had  paid  sixteen  dollars,  but  which 
did  not  fit  him,  and  he  wished  to  sell  it.  I  afterward 
spoke  of  him  to  one  of  Morazan's  officers,  whom  I 
would  believe  implicitly  except  in  regard  to  political 
opponents,  who  told  me  that  this  same  secretary  stole 
a  pair  of  pantaloons  from  him,  and  he  had  no  doubt 
the  coat  was  stolen  from  somebody  else. 

There  was  no  order  or  discipline  among  the  men ; 
the  soldiers  lay  about  the  quartel,  joined  in  the  conver- 
sation, or  strolled  through  the  town,  as  they  pleased. 
The  inhabitants  had  fortunately  carried  away  every- 
thing portable  ;  two  or  three  times  a  foraging  party  re- 
turned with  a  horse  or  mule,  and  once  they  were  all 
roused  by  an  alarm  that  Angoula  was  returning  upon 
the  town  in  another  direction.  Immediately  all  snatch- 
ed up  their  arms,  and  at  least  one  half,  without  a  mo- 
ment's warning,  took  to  their  heels.  We  had  a  fair 
chance  of  having  the  town  again  upon  our  hands,  but 
the  alarm  proved  groundless.  We  could  not,  however, 
but  feel  uncomfortable  at  the  facility  with  which  our 
friends  abandoned  us,  and  the  risk  we  ran  of  being 
identified  with  them.  There  were  three  brothers,  the 
only  lancers  who  did  not  go  out  with  Figoroa,  white 
men,  young  and  athletic,  the  best  dressed  and  best 
armed  in  the  company  ;  swaggering  in  their  manner, 
and  disposed  to  cultivate  an  acquaintance  with  us ;  they 

VOL.  II.— L 


told  us  that  they  purposed  going  to  Guatimala ;  but  I 
shrank  from  them  instinctively,  eluded  their  questions 
as  to  when  we  intended  to  set  out,  and  I  afterward 
heard  that  they  were  natives  of  the  town,  and  had  been 
compelled  to  leave  it  on  account  of  their  notorious 
characters  as  assassins.  One  of  them,  as  we  thought, 
in  a  mere  spirit  of  bravado,  provoked  a  quarrel  with 
the  aiddecamp,  strutted  before  the  quartel,  and  in  the 
hearing  of  all  said  that  they  were  under  no  man's  or- 
ders ;  they  only  joined  General  Figoroa  to  please  them- 
selves, and  would  do  as  they  thought  proper.  In  the 
mean  time,  a  few  of  the  townsmen  who  had  nothing  to 
lose,  among  them  an  alguazil,  finding  there  was  no 
massacring,  had  returned  or  emerged  from  their  hi- 
ding-places, and  we  procured  a  guide  to  be  ready  the 
moment  General  Figoroa  should  return,  went  back  to 
the  house,  and  to'  our  surprise  found  the  widow  Padilla 
there.  She  had  been  secreted  somewhere  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, and  had  heard,  by  means  of  an  old  woman- 
servant,  of  the  general's  breakfasting  with  us,  and  our 
intimacy  with  him.  We  inquired  for  her  daughters' 
safety,  but  not  where  they  were,  for  we  had  already 
found  that  we  could  answer  inquiries  better  when  we 
knew  nothing. 

We  waited  till  four  o'clock,  and  hearing  nothing  of 
General  Figoroa,  made  up  our  minds  that  we  should 
not  get  off  till  evening.  We  therefore  strolled  up  to 
the  extreme  end  of  the  street,  where  Figoroa  had  en- 
tered, and  where  stood  the  ruins  of  an  old  church.  We 
sat  on  the  foundation  walls  and  looked  through  the  long 
and  desolate  street  to  the  plaza,  where  were  a  few 
stacks  of  muskets  and  some  soldiers.  All  around  were 
mountains,  and  among  them  rose  the  beautiful  and  ver- 
dant Volcano  of  Chingo.  While  sitting  there  two 



women  ran  past,  and  telling  us  that  the  soldiers  were 
returning  in  that  direction,  hid  themselves  among  the 
ruins.     "We  turned  down  a  road  and  were  intercepted 
on  a  little  eminence,  where  we  were  obliged  to  stop  and 
look  down  upon  them  as  they  passed.     We  saw  that 
they  were  irritated  by  an  unsuccessful  day's  work,  and 
that  they  had  found  agua  ardiente,  for  many  of  them 
were  drunk.     A  drummer  on  horseback,  and  so  tipsy 
that  he  could  hardly  sit,  stopped  the  line  to  glorify  Gen- 
eral Carrera.      Very  soon  they  commenced   the    old 
touchstone,  "  Viva  Carrera  !"  and  one  fellow,  with  the 
strap  of  his  knapsack  across  his  naked  shoulders,  again 
stopped  the  whole  line,  and  turning  round  with  a  fero- 
cious expression,  said,  "  You  are  counting  us,  are  you?" 
We  disappeared,  and  by  another  street  got  back  to 
the  house.     We  waited  a  moment,  and,  determined  to 
get  out  of  the  town  and  sleep  at  the  first  hacienda  on 
the  road,  left  the  house  to  go  again  to  General  Fi- 
goroa  for   his  despatches ;    but  before  reaching  it  we 
saw  new  confusion  in  the  plaza,  a  general  remounting 
and  rushing  to   arms.     As   soon  as  General  Figoroa 
saw  us,  he  spurred  his  horse  down  the  street  to  meet 
us,  and  told  us,  in  great  haste,  that  General  Morazan 
was  approaehing  and  almost  upon  the  town.     He  had 
that  moment  received  the  news,  and  was  going  out  to 
attack  him.     He  had  no  time  to  sign  the  despatches, 
and  while  he  was  speaking  the  lancers  galloped  past. 
He  shook  hands,  bade  us  good-by,  hasta  luego  (until 
presently),  asked  us  to  call  upon  Carrera  in  case  we 
did  not  see  him  again,  and  dashing  down  the  line,  put 
himself  at  the  head  of  the  lancers.     The  foot-soldiers 
followed  in  single  file  on  a  run,  carrying  their  jarms  as 
was  most  convenient.     In  the  hurry  and  excitement  we 
forgot  ourselves  till  we  heard  some  flattering  epithets, 


and  saw  two  fellows  shaking  their  muskets  at  us  with  the 
expression  of  fiends  ;  but,  hurried  on  by  those  behind, 
they  cried  out  ferociously,  "Estos  picaros  otro  vez," 
"  Those  rascals  again."  The  last  of  the  line  had  hardly 
disappeared  before  we  heard  a  volley  of  musketry,  and 
in  a  moment  fifty  or  sixty  men  left  in  the  plaza  snatch- 
ed up  their  arms  and  ran  down  a  street  opening  from 
the  plaza.  Very  soon  a  horse  without  a  rider  came 
clattering  down  the  street  at  full  speed  ;  three  others 
followed,  and  in  five  minutes  we  saw  thirty  or  forty 
horsemen,  with  our  friend  Figoroa  at  their  head,  dash 
across  the  street,  all  running  for  their  lives ;  but  in  a 
few  moments  they  rallied  and  returned.  We  walked 
toward  the  church,  to  ascend  the  steeple,  when  a  sharp 
volley  of  musketry  rolled  up  the  street  on  that  side,  and 
before  we  got  back  into  the  house  there  was  firing 
along  the  whole  length  of  the  street.  We  knew  that 
a  chance  shot  might  kill  a  non-combatant,  and  se- 
cured the  doors  and  windows  ;  but  finally,  as  the  firing 
was  sharp,  and  the  balls  went  beyond  us  and  struck 
the  houses  on  the  opposite  side,  with  an  old  servant- 
woman  (what  had  become  of  the  widow  I  do  not  know), 
we  retired  into  a  small  room  on  the  courtyard,  with  de- 
lightful walls,  and  a  door  three  inches  thick  and  bullet- 
proof, shutting  which,  and  in  utter  darkness,  we  listened 
valiantly.  Here  we  considered  ourselves  out  of  harm's 
way,  but  we  had  serious  apprehensions  for  the  result. 
The  spirit  on  both  sides  was  to  kill ;  giving  quarter  was 
not  thought  of.  Morazan's  party  was  probably  small, 
but  they  would  not  be  taken  without  a  desperate  fight ; 
and  from  the  sharpness  of  the  firing  and  the  time  oc- 
cupied, vlhere  was  probably  a  sanguinary  affair.  Our 
quondam  friends,  roused  by  bloodshed,  wounds,  and 
loss  of  companions,  without  any  one  to  control  them> 


would  be  very  likely  to  connect  "  those  rascals"  with 
the  arrival  of  Morazan.  I  will  not  say  that  we  wished 
they  might  all  be  killed,  but  we  did  wish  that  their  bad 
blood  might  be  let  out,  and  that  was  almost  the  same 
thing.  In  fact,  I  did  most  earnestly  hope  never  to  see 
their  faces  again.  I  preferred  being  taken  by  any  ro- 
ving band  in  the  country  rather  than  by  them,  and  nev- 
er felt  more  relieved  than  when  we  heard  the  sound  of 
a  bugle.  It  was  the  Morazan  blast  of  victory ;  and, 
though  sounding  fiercely  the  well-known  notes  of  "  de- 
gollar,  degollar,"  "  cutthroat,  cutthroat,"  it  was  music 
to  our  ears.  Very  soon  we  heard  the  tramp  of  cavalry, 
and  leaving  our  hiding-place,  returned  to  the  sala,  and 
heard  a  cry  of  "  Viva  la  Federacion !"  This  was  a 
cheering  sound.  It  was  now  dark.  We  opened  the 
door  an  inch  or  two,  but  a  lancer  riding  by  struck  it 
open  with  his  lance,  and  asked  for  water.  We  gave 
him  a  large  calabash,  which  another  took  from  his 
hands.  We  threw  open  the  door,  and  kept  two  large 
calabashes  on  the  sill ;  and  the  soldiers,  as  they  passed, 
took  a  hasty  draught.  Asking  a  question  of  each,  we 
learned  that  it  was  General  Morazan  himself,  with  the 
survivers  of  his  expedition  against  Guatimala.  Our 
house  was  well  known ;  many  of  the  officers  inquired 
for  the  family,  and  an  aiddecamp  gave  notice  to  the  ser- 
vant-woman that  Morazan  himself  intended  stopping 
there.  The  soldiers  marched  into  the  plaza,  stacked 
their  arms,  and  shouted  "  Viva  Morazan."  In  the 
morning  the  shout  was  "  Viva  Carrera !"  None  cried 
"  Viva  la  Patria  !" 

There  was  no  end  to  our  troubles.  In  the  morning 
we  surrendered  to  one  party,  and  in  the  evening  were 
captured  out  of  their  hands  by  another ;  probably  be- 
fore daylight  Carrera  would  be  upon  us.  There  was 



only  one  comfort :  the  fellows  who  had  broken  our  rest 
the  night  before,  and  scared  the  inhabitants  from  their 
homes,  were  now  looking  out  for  lodgings  in  the  mount- 
ains themselves.  I  felt  sorry  for  Figoroa  and  his  aid, 
and,  on  abstract  principles,  for  the  killed.  As  for  the 
rest,  I  cared  but  little  what  became  of  them. 

In  a  few  moments  a  party  of  officers  came  down  to 
our  house.  For  six  days  they  had  been  in  constant 
flight  through  an  enemy's  country,  changing  their  direc- 
tion to  avoid  pursuit,  and  only  stopping  to  rest  their 
horses.  Entering  under  the  excitement  of  a  successful 
skirmish,  they  struck  me  as  the  finest  set  of  men  I  had 
seen  in  the  country.  Figoroa  had  come  upon  them  so 
suddenly,  that  General  Morazan,  who  rode  at  the  head 
of  his  men,  had  two  bullets  pass  by  his  head  before  he 
could  draw  his  pistol,  and  he  had  a  narrower  escape 
than  in  the  whole1  of  his  bloody  battle  in  Guatimala. 
Colonel  Cabanes,  a  small,  quiet,  gentlemanly  man,  the 
commander  of  the  troops  massacred  in  Honduras.- 
struck  the  first  blow,  broke  his  sword  over  a  lancer,  and, 
wresting  the  lance  out  of  its  owner's  hands,  ran  it 
through  his  body,  but  was  wounded  himself  in  the  hand. 
A  tall,  gay,  rattling  young  man,  who  was  wiping  warm 
blood  from  off  his  sword,  and  drying  it  on  his  pocket- 
handkerchief,  mourned  that  he  had  failed  in  cutting  off 
their  retreat ;  and  a  quiet  middle-aged  man,  wiping  his 
forehead,  drawled  out,  that  if  their  horses  had  not  been 
so  tired  they  would  have  killed  every  man.  Even 
they  talked  only  of  killing ;  taking  prisoners  was  nev- 
er thought  of.  The  verb  matar,  to  kill,  with  its  in- 
flexions, was  so  continually  ringing  in  my  ears  that  it 
made  me  nervous.  In  a  few  minutes  the  widow  Padil- 
la,  who,  I  am  inclined  to  believe,  was  secreted  some- 
where in  the  neighbourhood,  knowing  of  General  Mora- 


zan's  approach,  rushed  in,  crying  wildly  for  her  sons. 
All  answered  that  the  eldest  was  with  them ;  all  knew 
her,  and  one  after  another  put  his  right  arm  respect- 
fully over  her  shoulder  and  embraced  her ;  but  the 
young  man  who  was  wiping  his  sword  drove  it  into 
its  scabbard,  and,  catching  her  up  in  his  arms,  lifted 
her  off  the  floor  and  whirled  her  about  the  room.  The 
poor  old  lady,  half  laughing  and  half  crying,  told  him  he 
was  as  bad  as  ever,  and  continued  asking  for  her  sons. 
At  this  moment  a  man  about  forty,  whom  I  had  noticed 
before  as  the  only  one  without  arms,  with  a  long  beard, 
pale  and  haggard,  entered  from  the  courtyard.  The 
old  lady  screamed,  rushed  toward  him,  and  fell  on  his 
neck,  and  for  some  moments  rested  her  head  upon  his 
shoulder.  This  was  the  one  who  had  been  imprisoned 
by  Carrera.  General  Morazan  had  forced  his  way  into 
the  plaza,  broken  open  the  prisons,  and  liberated  the 
inmates ;  and  when  he  was  driven  out  this  son  made 
his  escape.  But  where  was  her  younger  and  dearer 
son  ?  The  young  man  answered  that  he  had  escaped 
and  was  safe.  The  old  lady  looked  at  him  with  dis- 
trust, and,  calling  him  by  his  Christian  name,  told  him 
he  was  deceiving  her  ;  but  he  persisted  and  swore  that 
he  had  escaped ;  he  himself  had  given  him  a  fresh  horse ; 
he  was  seen  outside  the  barrier,  was  probably  conceal- 
ed somewhere,  and  would  soon  make  his  appearance. 
The  other  officers  had  no  positive  knowledge.  One 
had  seen  him  at  such  a  time,  and  another  at  such  a  time 
during  the  battle ;  and  all  agreed  that  the  young  man 
ought  to  know  best,  for  their  posts  were  near  each  other ; 
and  he,  young,  ardent,  and  reckless,  the  dearest  friend 
of  her  son,  and  loving  her  as  a  mother,  told  me  after- 
ward that  she  should  have  one  night's  comfort,  and 
that  she  would  know  the  truth  soon  enough ;  but  the 


brother,  narrowly  escaped  from  death  himself,  and  who 
looked  as  if  smiles  had  been  forever  driven  from  his 
face,  told  me  he  had  no  doubt  his  mother's  darling  was 

During  these  scenes  the  captain  and  I  were  not  un- 
noticed. The  captain  found  among  the  officers  several 
whom  he  had  become  acquainted  with  at  the  port,  and 
he  learned  that  others  had  made  their  last  campaign. 
In  the  first  excitement  of  meeting  them,  he  determined 
to  turn  back  and  follow  their  broken  fortunes ;  but, 
luckily  for  me,  those  trunks  had  gone  on.  He  felt  that 
he  had  a  narrow  escape.  Among  those  who  had  ac- 
companied General  Morazan  were  the  former  secre- 
tary of  state  and  war,  and  all  the  principal  officers, 
civil  and  military,  of  the  shattered  general  government. 
They  had  heard  of  my  arrival  in  the  country.  I  had 
been  expected  at  Ban  Salvador,  was  known  to  them  all 
by  reputation,  and  very  soon  personally ;  particularly 
I  became  acquainted  with  Colonel  Zerabia,«a  young 
man  about  twenty-eight,  handsome,  brave,  and  accom- 
plished in  mind  and  manners,  with  an  enthusiastic  at- 
tachment for  General  Morazan,  from  whom,  in  refer- 
ring to  one  affair  in  the  attack  on  Guatimala,  with  tears 
almost  starting  from  his  eyes,  he  said,  Providence  seem- 
ed to  turn  the  bullets  away.  I  had  often  heard  of  this 
gentleman  in  Guatimala,  and  his  case  shows  the  unhap- 
py rending  of  private  and  social  ties  produced  by  these 
civil  wars.  His  father  was  banished  by  the  Liberal 
party  eight  years  before,  and  was  then  a  general  in  the 
Carlist  service  in  Spain.  His  mother  and  three  sisters 
lived  in  Guatimala,  and  I  had  visited  at  their  house 
perhaps  oftener  than  at  any  other  in  that  city.  They 
lived  near  the  plaza,  and  while  Morazan  had  possession 
of  it,  the  colonel  had  run  home  to  see  them  ;  and  in  the 

GENERAL     MORAZA  If.  89 

midst  of  a  distracted  meeting,  rendered  more  poignant 
by  the  circumstance  of  his  being  joined  in  an  attack 
upon  his  native  city,  he  was  called  away  to  go  into  ac- 
tion ;  his  horse  was  shot  under  him,  he  was  wounded, 
and  escaped  with  the  wreck  of  the  army.  His  mother 
and  sisters  knew  nothing  of  his  fate.  He  said,  what  I 
was  sure  was  but  too  true,  that  they  would  have  dread- 
ful apprehensions  about  him,  and  begged  me,  imme- 
diately on  my  arrival  at  Guatimala,  to  visit  them  and 
inform  them  of  his  safety. 

In  the  mean  time,  General  Morazan,  apprehensive  of 
a  surprise  from  Carrera  during  the  night,  sent  word  that 
he  should  sleep  in  the  plaza ;  and  escorted  by  Colonel 
Zerabia,  I  went  to  pay  my  respects  to  him.  From  the 
time  of  his  entry  I  felt  perfectly  secure,  and  never  had 
a  moment  of  apprehension  from  unruly  soldiers.  For 
the  first  time  I  saw  something  like  discipline.  A  sen- 
tinel was  pacing  the  street  leading  from  the  plaza,  to 
prevent  the  soldiers  straggling  into  the  town ;  but  the 
poor  fellows  seemed  to  have  no  disposition  for  strag- 
gling. The  town  was  stripped  of  everything;  even  the 
poor  horses  had  no  food.  Some  were  gathered  at  the 
window  of  the  cabildo,  each  in  his  turn  holding  up  his 
hat  for  a  portion  of  hard  corn  bread  ;  some  were  sitting 
around  fires  eating  this  miserable  fare ;  but  most  were 
stretched  on  the  ground,  already  asleep.  It  was  the 
first  night  they  had  lain  down  except  in  an  enemy's 

General  Morazan,  with  several  officers,  was  standing 
in  the  corridor  of  the  cabildo ;  a  large  fire  was  burning 
before  the  door,  and  a  table  stood  against  the  wall, 
with  a  candle  and  chocolate-cups  upon  it.  He  was 
about  forty-five  years  old,  five  feet  ten  inches  high, 
thin,  with  a  black  mustache  and  week's  beard,  and 

VOL.  II.— M 


wore  a  military  frock-coat,  buttoned  up  to  the  throat, 
and  sword.  His  hat  was  off,  and  the  expression  of  his 
face  mild  and  intelligent.  Though  still  young,  for  ten 
years  he  had  been  the  first  man  in  the  country,  and 
eight  president  of  the  Republic.  He  had  risen  and  had 
sustained  himself  by  military  skill  and  personal  bra- 
very ;  always  led  his  forces  himself ;  had  been  in  innu- 
merable battles,  and  often  wounded,  but  never  beaten. 
A  year  before,  the  people  of  Guatimala,  of  both  par- 
ties, had  implored  him  to  come  to  their  relief,  as  the 
only  man  who  could  save  them  from  Carrera  and  de- 
struction. At  that  moment  he  added  another  to  the 
countless  instances  of  the  fickleness  of  popular  favour. 
After  the  expiration  of  his  term  he  had  been  elected 
chief  of  the  State  of  San  Salvador,  which  office  he  had 
resigned,  and  then  acted  as  commander-in-chief  under 
the  Federal  Government.  Denounced  personally,  and 
the  Federation  under  which  he  served  disavowed,  he 
had  marched  against  Guatimala  with  fourteen  hundred 
men,  and  forced  his  way  into  the  plaza ;  forty  of  his 
oldest  officers  and  his  eldest  son  were  shot  down  by  his 
side  ;  and  cutting  his  way  through  masses  of  human 
flesh,  with  about  four  hundred  and  fifty  men  then  in  the 
plaza,  made  his  escape.  I  was  presented  to  him  by 
Colonel  Zerabia.  From  the  best  information  I  could 
acquire,  and  from  the  enthusiasm  with  which  I  had 
heard  him  spoken  of  by  his  officers,  and,  in  fact,  by 
every  one  else  in  his  own  state,  I  had  conceived  al- 
most a  feeling  of  admiration  for  General  Morazan, 
and  my  interest  in  him  was  increased  by  his  misfor- 
tunes. I  was  really  at  a  loss  how  to  address  him  ;  and 
while  my  mind  was  full  of  his  ill-fated  expedition,  his 
first  question  was  if  his  family  had  arrived  in  Costa 
Rica,  or  if  I  had  heard  anything  of  them.  I  did  not 


tell  him,  what  I  then  thought,  that  his  calamities  would 
follow  all  who  were  connected  with  him,  and  probably 
that  his  wife  and  daughters  would  not  be  permitted  an 
asylum  in  that  state  ;  but  it  spoke  volumes  that,  at  such 
a  moment,  with  the  wreck  of  his  followers  before  him, 
and  the  memory  of  his  murdered  companions  fresh  in 
his  mind,  in  the  overthrow  of  all  his  hopes  and  fortunes, 
his  heart  turned  to  his  domestic  relations.  He  express- 
ed his  sorrow  for  the  condition  in  which  I  saw  his  un- 
happy country;  regretted  that  my  visit  was  at  such  a 
most  unfortunate  moment ;  spoke  of  Mr.  De  Witt,  and 
the  relations  of  that  country  with  ours,  and  his  regret 
that  our  treaty  had  not  been  renewed,  and  that  it  could 
not  be  done  now  ;  but  these  things  were  not  in  my 
mind.  Feeling  that  he  must  have  more  important 
business,  I  remained  but  a  short  time,  and  returned  to 
the  house. 

The  moon  had  risen,  and  I  was  now  extremely  anx- 
ious to  set  out,  but  our  plans  were  entirely  deranged. 
The  guide  whom  we  had  engaged  to  conduct  us  to  the 
Rio  Paz  was  missing,  and  no  other  could  be  found ;  in 
fact,  not  a  man  could  be  induced,  either  by  promises  or 
threats,  to  leave  the  town  that  night  from  fear  of  falling 
in  with  the  routed  troops.  Several  of  the  officers  took 
chocolate  with  us,  and  at  the  head  of  the  table  sat  a 
priest  with  a  sword  by  his  side.  I  had  breakfasted  men 
who  would  have  been  happy  to  cut  their  throats,  and 
they  were  now  hiding  among  the  mountains  or  riding 
for  life.  If  Carrera  came,  my  new  friends  would  be 
scattered.  They  all  withdrew  early,  to  sleep  under 
arms  in  the  plaza,  and  we  were  left  with  the  widow 
and  her  son.  A  distressing  scene  followed,  of  inquiries 
and  forebodings  by  the  widow  for  her  younger  son, 
which  the  elder  could  only  get  rid  of  by  pleading  ex- 


cessive  fatigue,  and  begging  to  be  permitted  to  go  to 
sleep.  It  was  rather  singular,  but  it  had  not  occurred 
to  us  before  to  inquire  about  the  dead  and  wounded  in 
the  skirmish.  There  were  none  of  the  latter  ;  all  who 
fell  were  lanced,  and  the  dead  were  left  on  the  ground. 
He  was  in  the  rear  of  the  Morazan  party ;  the  fire  was 
scattering ;  but  on  the  line  by  which  he  entered  the  town 
he  counted  eighteen  bodies. 



Visit  from  General  Morazan. — End  of  his  Career. — Procuring  a  Guide. — Depar- 
ture for  Guatimala. — Fright  of  the  People. — The  Rio  Paz. — Hacienda  of  Pal- 
mita. — A  fortunate  Escape. — Hacienda  of  San  Jose. — An  awkward  Predica- 
ment.—A  kind  Host.— Rancho  of  Hoctilla.— Oratorio  and  Leon.— Rio  de  los 
Esclavos. — The  Village. — Approach  to  Guatimala. — Arrival  at  Guatimala. — A 
Sketch  of  the  Wars. — Defeat  of  Morazan. — Scene  of  Massacre. 

IN  the  morning,  to  our  surprise,  we  found  several 
shops  open,  and  people  in  the  street,  who  had  been 
concealed  somewhere  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  re- 
turned as  soon  as  they  knew  of  Morazan' s  entry. 
The  alcalde  reappeared,  and  our  guide  was  found, 
but  he  would  not  go  with  us,  and  told  the  alcalde 
that  he  might  kill  him  on  the  spot ;  that  he  would 
rather  die  there  than  by  the  hands  of  the  Cachurecos. 

While  I  was  taking  chocolate,  General  Morazan 
called  upon  me.  Our  conversation  was  longer  and 
more  general.  I  did  not  ask  him  his  plans  or  pur- 
poses, but  neither  he  nor  his  officers  exhibited  des- 
pondency. Once  reference  was  made  to  the  occu- 
pation of  Santa  Anna  by  General  Cascara,  and  with 
a  spirit  that  reminded  me  of  Claverhouse  in  "Old  Mor- 
tality," he  said,  "  we  shall  visit  that  gentleman  soon." 
He  spoke  without  malice  or  bitterness  of  the  leaders 
of  the  Central  party,  and  of  Carrera  as  an  ignorant 
and  lawless  Indian,  from  whom  the  party  that  was  now 
using  him  would  one  day  be  glad  to  be  protected. 
He  referred,  with  a  smile,  to  a  charge  current  among 
the  Cachurecos  of  an  effort  made  by  him  to  have  Car- 
rera assassinated,  of  which  a  great  parade  had  been 
made,  with  details  of  time  and  place,  and  which  was 
generally  believed.  He  had  supposed  the  whole  story 


a  fabrication ;  but  accidentally,  in  retreating  from  Gua- 
timala,  he  found  himself  in  the  very  house  where  the 
attempt  was  said  to  have  been  made ;  and  the  man  of 
the  house  told  him  that  Carrera,  having  offered  outrage 
to  a  member  of  his  family,  he  himself  had  stabbed  him, 
as  was  supposed  mortally;  and  in  order  to  account  for 
his  wounds,  and  turn  away  inquiries  from  the  cause,  it 
was  fastened  upon  Morazan,  and  so  flew  all  through  the 
country.  One  of  his  officers  accompanied  the  story 
with  details  of  the  outrage ;  and  I  felt  very  sure  that, 
if  Carrera  ever  fell  into  his  hands,  he  would  shoot  him 
on  the  spot. 

"With  the  opinion  that  he  entertained  of  Carrera  and 
his  soldiers,  he  of  course  considered  it  unsafe  for  us  to 
go  on  to  Guatimala.  But  I  was  exceedingly  anxious 
to  set  out ;  and  the  flush  of  excitement  over,  as  the  cap- 
tain's trunks  had  £one  on,  he  was  equally  so.  Carrera 
might  arrive  at  any  moment,  in  which  case  we  might 
again  change  owners,  or,  at  all  events,  be  the  witnesses 
of  a  sanguinary  battle,  for  Morazan  would  defend  the 
frontier  town  of  his  own  state  to  the  death. 

I  told  General  Morazan  my  wish  and  purpose,  and 
the  difficulty  of  procuring  a  guide.  He  said  that  an 
escort  of  soldiers  would  expose  us  to  certain  danger ; 
even  a  single  soldier,  without  his  musket  and  cartridge- 
box  (these  being  the  only  distinguishing  marks  of  a  sol- 
dier), might  be  recognised ;  but  he  would  send  for  the 
alcalde,  and  procure  us  some  trusty  person  from  the 
town.  I  bade  him  farewell  with  an  interest  greater 
than  I  had  felt  for  any  man  in  the  country.  Little 
did  we  then  know  the  calamities  that  were  still  in 
store  for  him  ;  that  very  night  most  of  his  soldiers  de- 
serted, having  been  kept  together  only  by  the  danger 
to  which  they  were  exposed  while  in  an  enemy's  coun. 


try.  With  the  rest  he  marched  to  Zonzonate,  seized  a 
vessel  at  the  port,  manning  her  with  his  own  men,  and 
sent  her  to  Libertad,  the  port  of  San  Salvador.  He 
then  marched  to  the  capital,  where  the  people,  who  had 
for  years  idolized  him  in  power,  turned  their  backs  upon 
him  in  misfortune,  and  received  him  with  open  insults 
m  the  streets.  With  many  of  his  officers,  who  were 
too  deeply  compromised  to  remain,  he  embarked  for 
Chili.  Suffering  from  confinement  on  board  a  small 
vessel,  he  stopped  in  Costa  Rica,  and  asked  permission 
for  some  of  them  to  land.  He  did  not  ask  it  for  him- 
self, for  he  knew  it  would  be  refused.  Leaving  some 
of  them  behind,  he  went  on  to  join  his  family  in  Chili. 
Amid  the  fierceness  of  party  spirit  it  was  impossible  for 
a  stranger  to  form  a  true  estimate  of  the  character  of  a 
public  man.  The  great  outcry  against  General  Mora- 
zan  was  hostility  to  the  church  and  forced  loans.  For 
his  hostility  to  the  church  there  is  the  justification  that 
it  is  at  this  day  a  pall  upon  the  spirit  of  free  institutions, 
degrading  and  debasing  instead  of  elevating  the  Chris- 
tian character  ;  and  for  forced  loans  constant  wars  may 
plead.  His  worst  enemies  admit  that  he  was  exemplary 
in  his  private  relations,  and,  what  they  consider  no 
small  praise,  that  he  was  not  sanguinary.  He  is  now 
fallen  and  in  exile,  probably  forever,  under  sentence  of 
death  if  he  returns ;  all  the  truckling  worshippers  of  a 
rising  sun  are  blasting  his  name  and  memory ;  but  I 
verily  believe,  and  I  know  I  shall  bring  down  upon  me 
the  indignation  of  the  whole  Central  party  by  the  asser- 
tion, I  verily  believe  they  have  driven  from  their  shores 
the  best  man  in  Central  America. 

The  population  of  the  town  was  devoted  to  General 
Morazan,  and  an  old  man  brought  to  us  his  son,  a  young 
man  about  twenty-two,  as  a  guide ;  but  when  he  learned 


that  we  wanted  him  to  go  with  us  all  the  way  to  Rio 
Paz,  he  left  us,  as  he  said,  to  procure  a  horse.  We 
waited  nearly  an  hour,  when  the  old  man  reappeared 
with  a  little  boy  about  ten  years  old,  dressed  in  a  straw 
hat  and  shirt,  and  mounted  on  a  bare-backed  horse. 
The  young  man  had  disappeared  and  could  not  be 
found ;  in  fact,  he  was  afraid  to  go,  and  it  was  thought 
this  little  boy  would  run  less  risk.  I  was  never  much 
disturbed  by  general  reports  of  robbers  or  assassins, 
but  there  was  palpable  danger  in  meeting  any  of  the 
routed  troops.  Desperate  by  defeat,  and  assassin-like 
in  disposition ;  not  very  amiable  to  us  before ;  and 
now,  from  having  seen  us  lounging  about  the  town 
at  that  inauspicious  moment,  likely  to  connect  us  with 
the  movements  of  Morazan,  I  believed  that  if  we  fell 
in  with  them  we  should  be  murdered.  But,  on  the 
other  hand,  they  had  not  let  the  grass  grow  under 
their  feet ;  had  probably  been  flying  all  night,  in  appre- 
hension of  pursuit ;  shunning  the  main  road,  had  per- 
haps crossed  the  Rio  Paz,  and,  once  in  Guatimala, 
had  dispersed  to  their  own  villages  ;  besides  which,  the 
rout  had  been  so  total  that  they  were  probably  escaping 
three  or  four  together,  and  would  be  as  likely  to  run 
from  us  as  we  from  them.  At  all  events,  it  was  bettej 
to  go  than  wait  till  Carrera  came  upon  the  town. 

With  these  calculations  and  really  uncomfortable 
feelings,  we  bade  farewell  to  some  of  the  officers  who 
were  waiting  to  see  us  off,  and  at  nine  o'clock  set  out. 
Descending  from  the  table-land  on  which  the  town  is 
""built,  we  entered  an  open  plain,  over  which  we  could 
see  to  a  great  distance,  and  which  would  furnish,  if  ne- 
cessary, a  good  field  for  the  evolutions  of  our  cavalry. 
We  passed  the  Lake  of  Aguachapa,  the  beauty  of  which, 
under  other  circumstances,  would  have  attracted  our 


admiration ;  and  as  our  little  guide  seemed  at  fault,  we 
stopped  at  a  hut  to  inquire  the  road.  The  people  were 
afraid  to  answer  any  questions.  Figoroa's  soldiers  and 
Morazan's  had  passed  by,  but  they  did  not  know  it; 
they  could  not  tell  whether  any  fugitive  soldiers  had 
passed,  and  only  knew  the  road  to  the  Rio  Paz.  It 
was  easy  to  see  that  they  thought  of  nothing  else ;  but 
they  said  they  were  poor  people,  and  at  work  all  the 
time,  and  did  not  know  what  was  going  on.  In  half 
an  hour  we  met  three  Indians,  with  loads  of  pottery  on 
their  backs.  The  poor  fellows  pulled  off  their  hats,  and 
trembled  when  we  inquired  if  there  were  any  routed 
soldiers  on  before.  It  occurred  to  us  that  this  inquiry 
would  expose  us  to  the  suspicion  of  being  officers  of 
Morazan  in  pursuit,  and  that,  if  we  met  any  one,  we  had 
better  ask  no  questions.  Beyond  this  there  were  many 
roads,  all  of  which,  the  boy  said,  led  to  the  Rio  Paz ; 
but  he  had  never  been  there  before,  and  did  not  know 
the  right  one.  We  followed  one  which  took  us  into  the 
woods,  and  soon  commenced  descending.  The  road 
was  broken,  stony,  and  very  steep  ;  we  descended  rap- 
idly, and  soon  it  was  manifest  no  horses  had  passed  on 
this  road  for  a  long  time  before.  Trees  lay  across  it  so 
low  that  we  dismounted,  and  were  obliged  to  slip  our 
high-peaked  saddles  to  pass  under  them.  It  was  evi- 
dently an  old  cattle-path,  now  disused  even  by  cattle. 
We  descended  some  distance  farther,  and  I  proposed 
to  return.  My  only  argument  was  that  it  was  safer ; 
we  knew  we  were  wrong,  and  might  get  down  so  low 
that  our  physical  strength  would  not  carry  us  back. 
The  captain  said  that  I  had  chosen  this  path  ;  if  we  had 
followed  his  advice,  we  should  have  been  safe,  and  that 
now  it  was  impossible  to  return.  We  had  an  angry 
quarrel,  and,  fortunately,  in  consideration  of  my  having 
VOL,  IL— N  9 


led  into  the  difficulty,  I  gave  way,  and  very  soon  we 
were  cheered  by  hearing  below  us  the  rushing  of  the 
river.  After  a  most  difficult  descent  we  reached  the 
bank;  but  here  there  was  no  fording-place,  and  no  path 
on  the  opposite  side. 

The  river  itself  was  beautiful.  The  side  which  we 
had  descended  was  a  high  and  almost  perpendicular 
mountain,  and  on  both  sides  trees  spread  their  branches 
over  the  water.  It  was  called  the  River  of  Peace,  but 
was  now  the  dividing-line  of  deadly  war,  the  boundary 
between  Guatimala  and  San  Salvador.  The  inhabi- 
tants of  the  opposite  side  were  in  an  enemy's  country, 
and  the  routed  troops,  both  of  Morazan  and  Figoroa, 
had  fled  to  it  for  refuge.  Riding  some  distance  up  the 
stream,  we  worked  our  way  across,  and  on  the  opposite 
side  found  a  waccal  or  drinking-shell,  which  had  prob- 
ably been  left  there  by  some  flying  soldier.  We  drank 
from  it  as  if  it  had  been  intended  for  our  use,  and  left 
it  on  the  bank  for  the  benefit  of  the  next  comer. 

We  were  now  in  the  State  of  Guatimala,  on  the 
banks  of  a  wild  river,  without  any  visible  path,  and  our 
situation  was  rather  more  precarious  than  before,  for 
here  the  routed  soldiers  would  consider  themselves  safe, 
and  probably  many,  after  a  day  and  night  of  toil  and 
fighting,  would  lie  down  to  rest.  We  were  fortunate 
in  regard  to  a  path,  for,  riding  a  short  distance  through 
the  woods  along  the  bank  of  the  river,  we  struck  one 
which  turned  off  to  the  left,  and  terminated  in  the  camino 
real  leading  from  the  regular  fording-place.  Here  we 
dismissed  our  little  guide,  and  set  out  on  the  main  road. 
The  face  of  the  country  was  entirely  changed,  broken 
and  stony,  and  we  saw  no  one  till  we  reached  the  ha- 
cienda of  Palmita.  This  too  seemed  desolate.  We 
entered  the  yard,  and  did  not  see  a  single  person  till 

JL    LUCKY    ESCAPE.  99 

we  pushed  open  the  door  of  the  house.  The  proprietor 
was  an  old  gentleman,  opposed  to  Morazan,  who  sat  in 
the  sala  with  his  wife's  saddle  and  his  own,  and  two 
bundles  of  bed  and  bedding  packed  up  on  the  floor, 
ready  for  a  start.  He  seemed  to  feel  that  it  was  too 
late,  and  with  an  air  of  submission  answered  our  ques- 
tions, and  then  asked  us  how  many  men  we  had  with 
us.  It  was  amusing  that,  while  half  frightened  to  death 
ourselves,  we  carried  terror  wherever  we  went.  We 
relieved  him  by  inquiring  about  Don  Saturnino  and  our 
luggage,  remounted,  and  rode  on.  In  an  hour  we 
reached  the  hacienda  del  Cacao,  where  Don  Saturnino 
was  to  sleep.  Owing  to  the  position  of  the  ground,  we 
came  suddenly  upon  the  front  of  the  house,  and  saw 
under  the  piazza  three  Cachureco  soldiers  eating  tor- 
tillas. They  saw  us  at  the  same  moment,  snatched  up 
their  muskets,  and  ran ;  but  suddenly  one  stopped  and 
levelled  at  us  a  blunderbuss.  The  barrel  looked  as  big 
as  a  church  door,  and  seemed  to  cover  both  the  captain 
and  me.  We  Avere  in  awful  danger  of  being  shot  by 
mistake,  when  one  of  them  rushed  back,  knocked  up 
the  blunderbuss,  and  crying  out  "  amigos,  los  Ingleses !" 
gave  us  a  chance  to  reach  them.  This  amiable  and 
sensible  young  Cachureco  vagabond  was  one  of  those 
who  had  paid  us  a  visit  to  beg  a  breakfast  and  a  medio. 
Probably  there  never  was  a  sixpence  put  out  at  better 
interest.  He  had  seen  us  intimate  with  Figoroa,  and 
taught  by  his  betters  to  believe  that  General  Morazan 
was  a  cutthroat  and  murderer,  and  not  conceiving  that 
we  could  be  safe  with  him,  considered  us  sharers  of  the 
same  danger,  and  inquired  how  we  had  escaped.  As 
it  turned  out,  we  were  extremely  happy  to  meet  with 
these ;  another  party  might  have  received  us  very  dif- 
ferently ;  and  they  relieved  us  in  an  important  point, 


for  they  told  us  that  most  of  the  routed  soldiers  had 
fled  on  the  Santa  Anna  road.  Don  Saturnine  had 
passed  the  night  at  this  hacienda,  and  set  out  very  early 
in  the  morning.  The  soldiers  returned  to  finish  their 
meal ,  and  giving  their  thanks  in  payment,  set  out  again 
with  us.  They  had  a  good  horse  which  they  had  stolen 
on  the  road,  and  which  they  said  paid  them  very  well 
for  the  expedition,  and  rode  by  turns  bare-backed. 
Passing  El  Cacao  their  appearance  created  a  sensation, 
for  they  brought  the  first  intelligence  of  the  rout  of  Fig- 
oroa.  This  was  ominous  news,  for  all  had  considered 
Morazan  completely  crushed  by  his  defeat  at  Guatimala. 
In  his  retreat  he  had  avoided  the  villages,  and  they  did 
not  know  that  he  had  escaped  with  so  strong  a  force. 
We  endeavoured  to  procure  a  guide,  but  not  a  man 
could  be  induced  to  leave  the  village,  and  we  rode  on. 
In  a  short  time  it  began  to  rain ;  the  road  was  very 
stony,  and  we  crossed  a  high,  bleak  volcanic  mountain. 
Late  in  the  afternoon  the  captain  conceived  suspicions 
of  the  soldiers,  and  we  rode  on  very  unceremoniously, 
leaving  them  behind.  About  five  o'clock  we  avoided 
the  road  that  led  to  a  village,  and  taking  el  Camino  de 
los  Partidos,  which  was  very  rough  and  stony,  soon 
came  to  a  place  where  there  were  branches,  and  we 
were  at  a  loss  which  to  take  ;  but  the  course  lay  through 
a  broad  valley  bounded  by  two  ranges  of  mountains. 
We  felt  sure  that  our  road  did  not  cross  either  of  these 
ranges,  and  these  were  our  only  guides.  A  little  before 
dark  we  passed  beyond  the  range  of  mountains,  and  on 
our  right  saw  a  road  leading  into  the  woods,  and  pres- 
ently heard  the  sound  of  a  bell,  and  saw  through  the 
trees  a  hacienda,  to  arrive  at  which  we  had  to  go  on 
some  distance,  and  then  turn  back  by  a  private  road. 
It  was  situated  in  a  large  clearing,  with  cucinera  and 


sheds,  and  a  large  sugar-mill.  Twenty  or  thirty  work- 
men, principally  Indians,  were  assembled  to  give  an 
account  of  their  day's  work,  and  receive  orders  for  the 
next.  Our  appearance  created  a  great  sensation.  The 
proprietors  of  the  hacienda,  two  brothers,  stood  in  the 
door  while  we  were  talking  with  the  men,  and  we  rode 
up  and  asked  permission  to  stop  there  for  the  night. 
The  elder  assented,  but  with  an  embarrassment  that 
showed  the  state  of  alarm  and  suspicion  existing  in  the 
country.  The  gentlemen  wore  the  common  hacienda 
dress,  and  the  interior  was  miserably  poor,  but  had  a 
hammock,  and  two  rude  frames  with  matting  over  them 
for  beds.  There  was  a  small  room  adjoining,  in  which 
was  the  wife  of  one  of  them  with  a  child.  The  propri- 
etors were  men  of  education  and  intelligence,  thorough- 
ly acquainted  with  the  condition  of  the  country,  and  we 
told  them  what  had  happened  at  Aguachapa,  and  that 
We  were  hurrying  on  to  Guatimala.  We  had  supper  at 
a  small  table  placed  between  the  hammock  and  one  of 
the  beds,  consisting  of  fried  eggs,  frigoles,  and  tortillas, 
as  usual  without  knife,  fork,  or  spoon. 

After  supper  our  elder  host  was  called  out,  but  in  a 
few  minutes  returned,  and,  closing  the  door,  told  us  that 
there  was  a  great  excitement  among  the  workmen  on  our 
account.  They  did  not  believe  our  story  of  going  to 
Guatimala,  for  a  woman  had  seen  us  come  in  from  the 
Guatimala  road,  and  they  believed  that  we  were  officers 
of  Morazan  retreating  from  the  attack  on  Guatimala, 
and  endeavouring  to  escape  into  San  Salvador.  Here 
was  a  ground  of  suspicion  we  had  not  anticipated.  The 
gentleman  was  much  agitated  ;  he  regretted  that  he  was 
obliged  to  violate  the  laws  of  hospitality,  but  said  we 
knew  the  distracted  state  of  the  country,  and  the  phren- 
sy  of  party  spirit.  He  himself  was  against  Morazan 


his  men  were  violent  Cachurecos,  and  at  this  moment 
capable  of  committing  any  outrage.  He  had  incurred 
great  peril  by  receiving  us  for  a  moment  under  his  roof, 
and  begged  us,  both  for  our  own  sake  and  his,  to  leave 
his  house  ;  adding  that,  even  if  we  were  of  those  unfor- 
tunate men,  our  horses  should  be  brought  up  and  we 
should  go  away  unharmed  ;  more  he  could  not  promise. 
Now  if  we  had  really  been  the  fugitives  he  supposed  us, 
we  should  no  doubt  have  been  very  thankful  for  his 
kindness ;  but  to  be  turned  out  by  mistake  in  a  dark 
night,  an  unknown  country,  and  without  any  guide,  was 
almost  as  bad  as  coming  at  us  with  a  blunderbuss. 
Fortunately,  he  was  not  a  suspicious  man ;  if  he  had 
been  another  Don  Gregorio  we  should  have  "  walked 
Spanish ;"  and,  more  fortunately  still,  my  pertinacity 
had  secured  Figoroa's  passport ;  it  was  the  only  thing 
that  could  have  cleared  our  character.  I  showed  it  to 
him,  pointing  to  the  extra  flourish  which  the  secretary 
had  made  of  plenipotentiario,  and  I  believe  he  was  not 
more  astonished  at  finding  who  had  honoured  him  by 
taking  possession  of  his  house,  than  pleased  that  we 
were  not  Morazan's  officers.  Though  an  intelligent 
man,  he  had  passed  a  retired  life  on  his  hacienda.  He 
had  heard  of  such  a  thing  as  "  a  minislro  plenipoten- 
tiario," but  had  never  seen  one.  My  accoutrements  and 
the  eagle  on  my  hat  sustained  the  character,  and  he  call- 
ed in  the  major-domo  and  two  leading  men  on  the  haci- 
enda, read  to  them  the  passport,  and  explained  to  them 
the  character  of  a  ministro  plenipotentiary,  while  I  sat 
up  on  the  bed  with  my  coat  off  and  hat  on  to  show  the 
eagle,  and  the  captain  suppressed  all  partialities  for 
Morazan,  and  talked  of  my  intimacy  with  Carrera.  The 
people  are  so  suspicious  that,  having  once  formed  an 
idea,  they  do  not  willingly  abandon  it,  and  it  was.  un- 

A    KIND     HOST.  103 

certain  whether  all  this  would  satisfy  them;  but  our 
host  was  warm  in  his  efforts,  the  major-domo  was  flat- 
tered by  being  made  the  medium  of  communicating  with 
the  men,  and  his  influence  was  at  stake  in  satisfying 
them.  It  was  one  of  Talleyrand's  maxims  never  to  do 
to-day  what  you  can  put  off  till  to-morrow.  On  this 
occasion  at  least  of  my  diplomatic  career  I  felt  the  ben- 
efit of  the  old  opposite  rule.  From  the  moment  I  saw 
Figoroa  I  had  an  eye  only  to  getting  his  passport,  and 
did  not  rest  until  I  had  it  in  my  pocket.  If  we  had  waited 
to  receive  this  with  his  letters,  we  should  now  have  been 
in  a  bad  position.  If  we  escaped  immediate  violence, 
we  should  have  been  taken  to  the  village,  shut  up  in  the 
cabildo,  and  exposed  to  all  the  dangers  of  an  ignorant 
populace,  at  that  moment  excited  by  learning  the  suc- 
cess of  Morazan  and  the  defeat  of  Figoroa.  In  setting 
out,  our  idea  was  that,  if  taken  by  the  Cachurecos,  we 
should  be  carried  up  to  Guatimala ;  but  we  found  that 
there  was  no  accountability  to  Guatimala ;  the  people 
were  in  a  state  to  act  entirely  from  impulses,  and  nothing 
could  induce  any  party  of  men  to  set  out  for  Guatimala, 
or  under  any  circumstances  to  go  farther  than  from 
village  to  village.  This  difficulty  over,  the  major-domo 
promised  us  a  guide  before  daylight  for  the  next  village. 
At  three  o'clock  we  were  wakened  by  the  creaking  of 
the  sugar-mill.  We  waited  till  daylight  for  a  guide,  but 
as  none  came  we  bade  farewell  to  our  kind  host,  and 
set  out  alone.  The  name  of  the  hacienda  is  San  Jose, 
but  in  the  hurry  of  my  movements  I  never  learned  the 
name  of  the  proprietor.  In  the  constant  revolutions  of 
Central  America,  it  may  happen  that  he  will  one  day 
be  flying  for  his  life  ;  in  his  hour  of  need,  may  he  meet 
a  heart  as  noble  as  his  own. 

At  a  distance  of  five  leagues  we  reached  the  rancho 

104  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

of  Hocotilla,  where  Don  Saturnmo  and  our  men  had 
slept.  The  road  lay  in  a  magnificent  ravine,  with  a 
fine  bottom  land  and  noble  mountain  sides.  We  pass- 
ed through  the  straggling  settlements  of  Oratorio  and 
Leon,  mostly  single  huts,  where  several  times  we  saw 
women  snatch  up  their  children  and  run  into  the  woods 
at  sight  of  us.  Bury  the  war-knife,  and  this  valley 
would  be  equal  to  the  most  beautiful  in  Switzerland. 
At  twelve  o'clock  we  came  upon  four  posts  with  a 
thatched  roof,  occupied  by  a  scouting-party  of  Cachu- 
reco  soldiers.  We  should  have  been  glad  to  avoid 
them,  but  they  could  not  have  judged  so  from  the  way 
in  which  we  shouted  "  amigos  !"  We  inquired  for  Car- 
rera ;  expected  to  meet  him  on  the  road ;  Figoroa  had 
told  us  he  was  coming  ;  Figoroa  had  entered  Aguacha- 
pa ;  and,  taking  special  good  care  not  to  tell  them  that 
Figoroa  had  been*  driven  out,  we  bade  them  good-by 
and  hurried  on. 

At  twelve  o'clock  we  reached  the  Rio  de  los  Escla- 
vos,  a  wild  and  noble  river,  the  bridge  across  which  is 
the  greatest  structure  in  Central  America,  a  memorial 
of  the  Spanish  dominion.  We  crossed  it  and  entered 
the  village,  a  mere  collection  of  huts,  standing  in  a  mag- 
nificent situation  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  looking  up 
to  a  range  of  giant  mountains  on  the  other  side,  covered 
to  the  top  with  noble  pines.  The  miserable  inhabitants 
were  insensible  to  its  beauties,  but  there  were  reasons 
to  make  them  so.  Every  hostile  expedition  between 
Guatimala  and  San  Salvador  passed  through  their  vil- 
lage. Twice  within  one  week  Morazan's  party  had 
done  so ;  the  inhabitants  carried  off  what  they  could, 
and,  locking  their  doors,  fled  to  the  mountains.  The 
last  time,  Morazan's  army  was  so  straitened  for  provis- 
ions, and  pressed  by  fear  of  pursuit,  that  huts  were  torn 


down  for  firewood,  and  bullocks  slain  and  eaten  half 
raw  in  the  street,  without  bread  or  tortillas. 

At  two  we  set  off  again,  and  from  the  village  entered 
a  country  covered  with  lava.  At  four  we  reached  the 
hacienda  of  Coral  de  Piedra,  situated  on  the  crest  of  a 
stony  country,  looking  like  a  castle,  very  large,  with  a 
church  and  village,  where,  although  it  rained,  we  did 
not  stop,  for  the  whole  village  seemed  to  be  intoxicated. 
Opposite  one  house  we  were  hailed  by  a  Cachureco  of- 
ficer, so  tipsy  that  he  could  hardly  sit  on  his  horse,  who 
came  at  us  and  told  us  how  many  of  Morazan's  men  he 
had  killed.  A  little  before  dark,  riding  through  a  for- 
est, in  the  apprehension  that  we  were  lost,  we  emerged 
suddenly  from  the  woods,  and  saw  towering  before  us 
the  great  volcanoes  of  Agua  and  Fuego,  and  at  the  same 
moment  were  hailed  by  the  joyful  shouts  of  Don  Satur- 
nine and  our  men.  They  had  encamped  in  a  small  hut 
on  the  borders  of  a  large  plain,  and  the  mules  were 
turned  out  to  pasture.  Don  Saturnine  had  been  alarm- 
ed about  us,  but  he  had  followed  our  parting  injunction 
to  go  on,  as,  if  any  accident  had  happened,  he  could  be 
of  more  service  in  Guatimala.  They  had  not  met  Mora- 
zan's army,  having  been  at  a  hacienda  off  the  road 
when  it  passed,  and  hurrying  on,  had  not  heard  of  the 
rout  of  Figoroa. 

The  rancho  contained  a  single  small  room,  barely 
large  enough  for  the  man  and  woman  who  occupied  it 
but  there  was  plenty  of  room  out  of  doors.  After  a 
rough  ride  of  more  than  fifty  miles,  with  the  most  com- 
fortable reflection  of  being  but  one  day  from  Guatima- 
la, I  soon  fell  asleep. 

The  next  morning  one  of  the  mules  was  missing,  and 
we  did  not  get  off  till  eight  o'clock.  Toward  evening 
we  descended  a  long  hill,  and  entered  the  plain  of 

VOL.  II.— O 


Guatimala.  It  looked  beautiful,  and  I  never  thought  I 
should  be  so  happy  to  see  it  again.  I  had  finished  a 
journey  of  twelve  hundred  miles,  and  the  gold  of  Peru 
could  not  have  tempted  me  to  undertake  it  again.  At 
the  gate  the  first  man  I  saw  was  my  friend  Don  Man- 
uel Pavon.  I  could  but  think,  if  Morazan  had  taken 
the  city,  where  would  he  be  now  ?  Carrera  was  not  in 
the  city ;  he  had  set  out  in  pursuit  of  Morazan,  but  on 
the  road  received  intelligence  which  induced  him  to 
turn  off  for  Quezaltenango.  I  learned  with  deep  satis- 
faction that  not  one  of  my  acquaintances  was  killed, 
and,  as  I  afterward  found,  not  one  of  them  had  been  in 
the  battle. 

I  gave  Don  Manuel  the  first  intelligence  of  General 
Morazan.  Not  a  word  had  been  heard  of  him  since  he 
left  the  Antigua.  Nobody  had  come  up  from  that  direc- 
tion ;  the  people  were  still  too  frightened  to  travel,  and 
the  city  had  not  recovered  from  its  spasm  of  terror.  As 
we  advanced  I  met  acquaintances  who  welcomed  me 
back  to  Guatimala.  I  was  considered  as  having  run  the 
gauntlet  for  life,  and  escape  from  dangers  created  a  bond 
between  us.  I  could  hardly  persuade  myself  that  the 
people  who  received  me  so  cordially,  and  whom  I  was 
really  glad  to  meet  again,  were  the  same  whose  expul- 
sion by  Morazan  I  had  considered  probable.  If  he  had 
succeeded,  not  one  of  them  would  have  been  there  to 
welcome  me.  Repeatedly  I  was  obliged  to  stop  and 
tell  over  the  affair  of  Aguachapa ;  how  many  men 
Morazan  had  ;  what  officers  ;  whether  I  spoke  to  him  ; 
how  he  looked,  and  what  he  said.  I  introduced  the 
captain  ;  each  had  his  circle  of  listeners ;  and  the  cap- 
tain, as  a  slight  indemnification  for  his  forced  "  Viva 
Carreras"  on  the  road,  feeling,  on  his  arrival  once  more 
among  civilized  and  well-dressed  people,  a  comparative 


security  for  liberty  of  speech,  said  that  if  Morazan's 
horses  had  not  been  so  tired,  every  man  of  Figoroa's 
would  have  been  killed.  Unhappily,  I  could  not  but 
see  that  our  news  would  have  been  more  acceptable  if 
we  could  have  reported  Morazan  completely  prostrated, 
wounded,  or  even  dead.  As  we  advanced  I  could  per- 
ceive that  the  sides  of  the  houses  were  marked  by  mus- 
ket-balls, and  the  fronts  on  the  plaza  were  fearfully 
scarified.  My  house  was  near  the  plaza,  and  three 
musket-balls,  picked  out  of  the  woodwork,  were  saved 
for  my  inspection,  as  a  sample  of  the  battle.  In  an 
hour  after  my  arrival  I  had  seen  nearly  all  my  old 
friends.  Engrossed  by  my  own  troubles,  I  had  not 
imagined  the  full  extent  of  theirs.  I  cannot  describe 
the  satisfaction  with  which  I  found  myself  once  more 
among  them,  and  for  a  little  while,  at  least,  at  rest.  I 
still  had  anxieties  ;  I  had  no  letters  from  home,  and  Mr. 
Catherwood  had  not  arrived ;  but  I  had  no  uneasiness 
about  him,  for  he  was  not  in  the  line  of  danger ;  and 
when  I  lay  down  I  had  the  comfortable  sensation  that 
there  was  nothing  to  drive  me  forward  the  next  day. 
The  captain  took  up  his  abode  with  me.  It  was  an  odd 
finale  to  his  expedition  against  Guatimala ;  but,  after  all, 
it  was  better  than  remaining  at  the  port. 

Great  changes  had  taken  place  in  Guatimala  since  I 
left,  and  it  may  not  be  amiss  here  to  give  a  brief  ac- 
count of  what  had  occurred  in  my  absence.  The  reader 
will  remember  the  treaty  between  Carrera  and  Guz- 
man, the  general  of  the  State  of  Los  Altos,  by  which 
the  former  surrendered  to  the  latter  four  hundred  old 
muskets.  Since  that  time  Guatimala  had  adopted  Car- 
rera (or  had  been  adopted  by  him,  I  hardly  know 
which),  and,  on  the  ground  that  the  distrust  formerly 
entertained  of  him  no  longer  existed,  demanded  a  res- 

108  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

titution  of  the  muskets  to  him.  The  State  of  Los  Altos 
refused.  This  state  was  at  that  time  the  focus  of  Liberal 
principles,  and  Quezaltenango,  the  capital,  was  the 
asylum  of  Liberals  banished  from  Guatimala.  Appre- 
hending, or  pretending  to  apprehend,  an  invasion  from 
that  state,  and  using  the  restitution  of  the  four  hundred 
worthless  muskets  as  a  pretext,  Carrera  marched  against 
Quezaltenango  with  one  thousand  men.  The  Indians, 
believing  that  he  came  to  destroy  the  whites,  assisted 
him.  Guzman's  troops  deserted  him,  and  Carrera  with 
his  own  hands  took  him  prisoner,  sick  and  encumbered 
with  a  greatcoat,  in  the  act  of  dashing  his  horse  down 
a  deep  ravine  to  escape :  he  sent  to  Guatimala  Guz- 
man's military  coat,  with  the  names  of  Omoa,  Truxillos, 
and  other  places  where  Guzman  had  distinguished  him- 
self in  the  service  of  the  republic,  labelled  on  it,  and  a 
letter  to  the  government,  stating  that  he  had  sent  the  coat 
as  a  proof  that  he  had  taken  Guzman.  A  gentleman 
told  me  that  he  saw  this  coat  on  its  way,  stuck  on  a  pole, 
and  paraded  by  an  insulting  rabble  around  the  plaza  of 
the  Antigua.  After  the  battle  Carrera  marched  to  the 
capital,  deposed  the  chief  of  the  state  and  other  offi- 
cers, garrisoned  it  with  his  own  soldiers,  and,  not  under- 
standing the  technical  distinctions  of  state  lines,  de- 
stroyed its  existence  as  a  separate  state,  and  annexed  it 
to  Guatimala,  or,  rather,  to  his  own  command. 

In  honour  of  his  distinguished  services,  public  notice 
was  given  that  on  Monday  the  seventeenth  he  would 
make  his  triumphal  entry  into  Guatimala,  and  on  that 
day  he  did  enter,  under  arches  erected  across  the  streets, 
amid  the  firing  of  cannon,  waving  of  flags,  and  music, 
with  General  Guzman,  personally  known  to  all  the  prin- 
cipal inhabitants,  who  but  a  year  before  had  hastened 
at  their  piteous  call  to  save  them  from  the  hands  of  this 

A     SKETCH     OF    THE     WAR.  109 

same  Carrera,  placed  side  wise  on  a  mule,  with  his  feet 
tied  under  him,  his  face  so  bruised,  swollen,  and  disfig- 
ured by  stones  and  blows  of  machetes  that  he  could 
not  be  recognised,  and  the  prisoners  tied  together  with 
ropes  ;  and  the  chief  of  the  state,  secretary  of  state,  and 
secretary  of  the  Constituent  Assembly  rode  by  Carrera's 
side  'in  this  disgraceful  triumph. 

General  Guzman  was  one  of  those  who  had  been  lib- 
erated from  prison  by  General  Morazan.  He  had  es- 
caped from  the  plaza  with  the  remnant  of  his  forces, 
but,  unable  to  endure  the  fatigues  of  the  journey,  he 
was  left  behind,  secreted  on  the  road  ;  and  General 
Morazan  told  me  that,  in  consequence  of  the  cruelty  ex- 
ercised upon  him,  and  the  horrible  state  of  anxiety  in 
which  he  was  kept,  reason  had  deserted  its  throne,  and 
his  once  strong  mind  was  gone. 

From  this  time  the  city  settled  into  a  volcanic  calm, 
quivering  with  apprehensions  of  an  attack  by  General 
Morazan,  a  rising  of  the  Indians  and  a  war  of  castes, 
and  startled  by  occasional  rumours  that  Carrera  intend- 
ed to  bring  Guzman  and  the  prisoners  out  into  the  plaza 
and  shoot  them.  On  the  fourteenth  of  March  intelli- 
gence was  received  from  Figoroa  that  General  Mora- 
zan had  crossed  the  Rio  Paz  and  was  marching  against 
Guatimala.  This  swallowed  up  all  other  apprehensions. 
Carrera  was  the  only  man  who  could  protect  the  city. 
On  the  fifteenth  he  marched  out  with  nine  hundred  men 
toward  Arazola,  leaving  the  plaza  occupied  by  five 
hundred  men.  Great  gloom  hung  over  the  city.  The 
same  day  Morazan  arrived  at  the  Coral  de  Piedra, 
eleven  leagues  from  Guatimala.  On  the  sixteenth  the 
soldiers  commenced  erecting  parapets  at  the  corners  of 
the  plaza ;  many  Indians  came  in  from  the  villages  to 
assist,  and  Carrera  took  up  his  position  at  the  Aceytuna, 



a  league  and  a  half  from  the  city.  On  the  seventeenth 
Carrera  rode  into  the  city,  and  with  the  chief  of  the 
state  and  others,  went  around  to  visit  the  fortifications 
and  rouse  the  people  to  arms.  At  noon  he  returned  to 
the  Aceytuna,  and  at  four  o'clock  intelligence  was  re- 
ceived that  Morazan's  army  was  descending  the  Questa 
de  Pinula,  the  last  range  before  reaching  the  plain  of 
Guatimala.  The  bells  tolled  the  alarm,  and  great  con- 
sternation prevailed  in  the  city.  Morazan's  army  slept 
that  night  on  the  plain. 

Before  daylight  he  marched  upon  the  city  and  enter- 
ed the  gate  of  Buena  Vista,  leaving  all  his  cavalry 
and  part  of  his  infantry  at  the  Plaza  de  Toros  and  on 
the  heights  of  Calvario,  under  Colonel  Cabanes,  to 
watch  the  movements  of  Carrera,  and  with  seven  hun- 
dred men  occupied  the  Plaza  of  Guadaloupe,  depositing 
his  parque,  equipage,  a  hundred  women  (more  or  less  of 
whom  always  accompany  an  expedition  in  that  country), 
and  all  his  train,  in  the  Hospital  of  San  Juan  de  Dios. 
Hence  he  sent  Perez  and  Rivas,  with  four  or  five  hun- 
dred men,  to  attack  the  plaza.  These  passed  up  a  street 
descending  from  the  centre  of  the  city,  and,  while  cov- 
ered by  the  brow  of  the  hill,  climbed  over  the  yard-wall 
of  the  Church  of  Escuela  de  Cristo,  and  passed  through 
the  church  into  the  street  opposite  the  mint,  in  the  rear 
of  one  side  of  the  plaza.  Twenty-seven  Indians  were 
engaged  in  making  a  redoubt  at  the  door,  and  twenty-six 
bodies  were  found  on  the  ground,  nine  killed  and  seven- 
teen wounded.  When  I  saw  it  the  ground  was  still  red 
with  blood.  Entering  the  mint,  the  invaders  were  re- 
ceived with  a  murderous  fire  along  the  corridor ;  but, 
forcing  their  way  through,  they  broke  open  the  front 
portal,  and  rushed  into  the  plaza.  The  plaza  was  oc- 
cupied by  the  five  hundred  men  left  by  Carrera,  and  two 


or  three  hundred  Indians,  who  fell  back,  closed  up  near 
the  porch  of  the  Cathedral,  and  in  a  few  moments  all 
fled,  leaving  the  plaza,  with  all  their  ammunition,  in  the 
possession  of  the  assailants.  Rivera  Paz  and  Don  Luis 
Bartres,  the  chief  and  secretary  of  the  state,  were  in  the 
plaza  at  the  time,  and  but  few  other  white  citizens.  Car- 
rera  did  not  want  white  soldiers,  and  would  not  permit 
white  men  to  be  officers.  Many  young  men  had  pre- 
sented themselves  in  the  plaza,  and  were  told  that 
there  were  no  arms. 

In  the  mean  time,  Carrera,  strengthened  by  masses  of 
Indians  from  the  villages  around,  attacked  the  division 
on  the  heights  of  Calvario.  Morazan,  with  the  small 
force  left  at  San  Juan  de  Dios,  went  to  the  assistance  of 
Cabanes.  The  battle  lasted  an  hour  and  a  half,  fierce 
and  bloody,  and  fought  hand  to  hand.  Morazan  lost 
some  of  his  best  officers.  Sanches  was  killed  by  Sotero 
Carrera,  a  brother  of  the  general.  Carrera  and  Mora- 
zan met,  and  Carrera  says  that  he  cut  Morazan's  sad- 
dle nearly  in  two.  Morazan  was  routed,  pursued  so 
closely  that  he  could  not  take  up  his  equipage,  and  hur- 
ried on  to  the  plaza,  having  lost  three  hundred  mus- 
kets, four  hundred  men  killed,  wounded,  and  prisoners, 
and  all  his  baggage.  At  ten  o'clock  his  whole  force 
was  penned  up  in  the  plaza,  surrounded  by  an  immense 
mass  of  Indian  soldiers,  and  fired  upon  from  all  the  cor- 
ners. Manning  the  parapets  and  stationing  pickets  on 
the  roofs  of  the  houses,  he  kept  up  a  galling  fire  in  return. 

Pent  up  in  this  fearful  position,  Morazan  had  time  to 
reflect.  But  a  year  before  he  was  received  with  ringing 
of  bells,  firing  of  cannon,  joyful  acclamations,  and  dep- 
utations of  grateful  citizens,  as  the  only  man  who  could 
save  them  from  Carrera  and  destruction.  Among  the 
few  white  citizens  in  the  plaza  at  the  time  of  the  entry 


of  the  soldiers  was  a  young  man,  who  was  taken  pris- 
oner and  brought  before  General  Morazan.  The  latter 
knew  him  personally,  and  inquired  for  several  of  his  old 
partisans  by  name,  asking  whether  they  were  not  com- 
ing to  join  him.  The  young  man  answered  that  they 
were  not,  and  Morazan  and  his  officers  seemed  disap- 
pointed. No  doubt  he  had  expected  a  rising  of  citizens 
in  his  favour,  and  again  to  be  hailed  as  a  deliverer  from 
Carrera.  In  San  Salvador  I  had  heard  that  he  had  re- 
ceived urgent  solicitations  to  come  up ;  but,  whatever 
had  been  contemplated,  there  was  no  manifestation  of 
any  such  intention  ;  on  the  contrary,  the  hoarse  cry  was 
ringing  in  his  ears,  "  Muera  el  tyranno  !  Muera  el  Gen- 
eral Morazan  !"  Popular  feeling  had  undergone  an  en- 
tire revolution,  or  else  it  was  kept  down  by  the  masses 
of  Indians  who  came  in  from  the  villages  around  to  de- 
fend the  city  against  him. 

In  the  mean  time  the  fire  slackened,  and  at  twelve 
o'clock  it  died  away  entirely  ;  but  the  plaza  was  strewed 
with  dead,  dense  masses  choked  up  the  streets,  and  at 
the  corners  of  the  plaza  the  soldiers,  with  gross  ribaldry 
and  jests,  insulted  and  jeered  at  Morazan  and  his  men. 
The  firing  ceased  only  from  want  of  ammunition,  Car- 
rera's  stock  having  been  left  in  Morazan's  possession. 
Carrera,  in  his  eagerness  to  renew  the  attack,  sat  down 
to  make  cartridges  with  his  own  hands. 

The  house  of  Mr.  Hall,  the  British  vice-consul,  was 
on  one  of  the  sides  of  the  plaza.  Mr.  Chatfield,  the 
consul  general,  was  at  Escuintla,  about  twelve  leagues 
distant,  when  intelligence  was  received  of  Morazan's 
invasion.  He  mounted  his  horse,  rode  up  to  the  city, 
and  hoisted  the  English  flag  on  Mr.  Hall's  house,  to 
Morazan's  soldiers  the  most  conspicuous  object  on  the 
plaza.  Carrera  himself  was  hardly  more  obnoxious  to 

DEFEAT     OF     MORAZAN.  113 

them  than  Mr.  Chatfield.  A  picket  of  soldiers  was  sta- 
tioned on  the  roof  of  the  house,  commanding  the  plaza 
on  the  one  side  and  the  courtyard  on  the  other.  Orel- 
lana,  the  former  minister  of  war,  was  on  the  roof,  and 
cut  into  the  staff  with  his  sword,  but  desisted  on  a  re- 
monstrance from  the  courtyard  that  it  was  the  house  of 
the  vice-consul.  At  sundown  the  immense  mass  of  In- 
dians who  now  crowded  the  city  fell  on  their  knees, 
and  set  up  the  Salve  or  hymn  to  the  Virgin.  Orellana 
and  others  of  Morazan's  officers  had  let  themselves 
down  into  the  courtyard,  and  were  at  the  moment  ta- 
king chocolate  in  Mr.  Hall's  house.  Mrs.  Hall,  a 
Spanish  lady  of  the  city,  asked  Orellana  why  he  did 
not  fall  on  his  knees ;  and  he  answered,  in  jest,  that  he 
was  afraid  his  own  soldiers  on  the  roof  would  take  him 
for  a  Cachureco  and  shoot  him ;  but  it  is  said  that  to 
Morazan  the  noise  of  this  immense  chorus  of  voices 
was  appalling,  bringing  home  to  him  a  consciousness 
of  the  immense  force  assembled  to  crush  him,  and  for 
the  first  time  he  expressed  his  sense  of  the  danger  they 
were  in.  The  prayer  was  followed  by  a  tremendous 
burst  of  "  Viva  la  Religion !  Viva  Carrera  !  y  muera  el 
General  Morazan !"  and  the  firing  commenced  more 
sharply  than  before.  It  was  returned  from  the  plaza, 
and  for  several  hours  continued  without  intermission. 
At  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  Morazan  made  a  despe- 
rate effort  to  cut  his  way  out  of  the  plaza,  but  was  driv- 
en back  behind  the  parapets.  The  plaza  was  strewed 
with  dead.  Forty  of  his  oldest  officers  and  his  eldest  son 
were  killed;  and  at  three  o'clock  he  stationed  three 
hundred  men  at  three  corners  of  the  plaza,  directed 
them  to  open  a  brisk  fire,  threw  all  the  powder  into  the 
fountain,  and  while  attention  was  directed  to  these 
points,  sallied  by  the  other  and  left  them  to  their  fate. 
VOL.  II.— P 

114  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

I  state  this  on  the  authority  of  the  Guatimala  official 
account  of  the  battle — of  course  I  heard  nothing  of  it 
at  Aguachapa — and  if  true,  it  is  a  blot  on  Morazan's 
character  as  a  soldier  and  as  a  man.  He  escaped  from 
the  city  with  five  hundred  men,  and  strewing  the  road 
with  wounded  and  dead,  at  twelve  o'clock  arrived  at 
the  Antigua.  Here  he  was  urged  to  proclaim  martial 
law,  and  make  another  attack  on  the  city ;  but  he  an- 
swered no  ;  blood  enough  had  been  shed.  He  entered 
the  cabildo,  and,  it  is  said,  wrote  a  letter  to  Carrera 
recommending  the  prisoners  to  mercy ;  and  Baron 
Mahelin,  the  French  consul  general,  related  to  me  an 
anecdote,  which  does  not,  however,  seem  probable,  that 
he  laid  his  glove  on  the  table,  and  requested  the  alcalde 
to  give  it  to  Carrera  as  a  challenge,  and  explain  its 
meaning.  From  that  place  he  continued  his  retreat  by 
the  coast  until  I  met  him  at  Aguachapa. 

In  the  mean  time  Carrera's  soldiers  poured  into  the 
plaza  with  a  tremendous  feu  de  joie,  and  kept  up  a  ter- 
rible firing  in  the  air  till  daylight.  Then  they  commen- 
ced searching  for  fugitives,  and  a  general  massacre  took 
place.  Colonel  Arias,  lying  on  the  ground  with  one  of 
his  eyes  out,  was  bayoneted  to  death.  Perez  was  shot. 
Marescal,  concealed  under  the  Cathedral,  was  dragged 
out  and  shot.  Padilla,  the  son  of  the  widow  at  Agua- 
chapa, found  on  the  ground,  while  begging  a  Centralist 
whom  he  knew  to  save  him,  was  killed  with  bayonets. 
The  unhappy  fugitives  were  brought  into  the  plaza  two, 
three,  five,  and  ten  at  a  time.  Carrera  stood  pointing 
with  his  finger  to  this  man  and  that,  and  every  one  that 
he  indicated  was  removed  a  few  paces  from  him  and 
shot.  Major  Jose  Viera,  and  several  of  the  soldiers  on 
the  roof  of  Mr.  Hall's  house,  let  themselves  down  into 
the  courtyard,  and  Carrera  sent  for  all  who  had  taken 


refuge  there.  Viera  was  taking  chocolate  with  the 
family,  and  gave  Mrs.  Hall  a  purse  of  doubloons  and  a 
pistol  to  take  care  of  for  him.  They  were  delivered  up, 
with  a  recommendation  to  mercy,  particularly  in  behalf 
of  Viera  ;  but  a  few  moments  after  Mr.  Skinner  entered 
the  house,  and  said  that  he  saw  Viera' s  body  in  the 
plaza.  Mr.  Hall  could  not  believe  it,  and  walked  round 
the  corner,  but  a  few  paces  from  his  own  door,  and  saw 
him  lying  on  his  back,  dead.  In  this  scene  of  massacre 
the  Padre  Zezena,  a  poor  and  humble  priest,  exposed 
his  own  life  to  save  his  fellow-beings.  Throwing  him- 
self on  his  knees  before  Carrera,  he  implored  him  to 
spare  the  unhappy  prisoners,  exclaiming,  they  are  Chris- 
tians like  ourselves  ;  and  by  his  importunities  and  pray- 
ers induced  Carrera  to  desist  from  murder,  and  send 
the  wretched  captives  to  prison. 

Carrera  and  his  Indians  had  the  whole  danger  and 
the  whole  glory  of  defending  the  city.  The  citizens, 
who  had  most  at  stake,  took  no  part  in  it.  The  mem- 
bers of  the  government  most  deeply  compromised  fled 
or  remained  shut  up  in  their  houses.  It  would  be  hard 
to  analyze  the  feelings  with  which  they  straggled  out  to 
gaze  upon  the  scene  of  horror  in  the  streets  and  in  the 
plaza,  and  saw  on  the  ground  the  well-known  faces  and 
mangled  bodies  of  the  leaders  of  the  Liberal  party. 
There  was  one  overpowering  sense  of  escape  from  im- 
mense danger,  and  the  feeling  of  the  Central  govern- 
ment burst  out  in  its  official  bulletin  :  "  Eternal  glory  to 
the  invincible  chief  General  Carrera,  and  the  valiant 
troops  under  his  command !" 

In  the  morning,  as  at  the  moment  of  our  arrival,  this 
subject  was  uppermost  in  every  one's  mind ;  no  one 
could  talk  of  anything  else,  and  each  one  had  some- 
thing new  to  communicate.  In  our  first  walk  through 


the  streets  our  attention  was  directed  to  the  localities, 
and  everywhere  we  saw  marks  of  the  battle.  Vaga- 
bond soldiers  accosted  us,  begging  medios,  pointing 
their  muskets  at  our  heads  to  show  how  they  shot  the 
enemy,  and  boasting  how  many  they  had  killed.  These 
fellows  made  me  feel  uncomfortable,  and  I  was  not 
singular  ;  but  if  there  was  a  man  who  had  a  mixture  of 
uncomfortable  and  comfortable  feelings,  it  was  my  friend 
the  captain.  He  was  for  Morazan ;  had  left  La  Union 
to  join  his  expedition,  left  San  Salvador  to  pay  him  a 
visit  at  Guatimala  and  partake  of  the  festivities  of  his 
triumph,  and  left  Aguachapa  because  his  trunks  had 
gone  on  before.  Ever  since  his  arrival  in  the  country 
he  had  been  accustomed  to  hear  Carrera  spoken  of  as  a 
robber  and  assassin,  and  the  noblesse  of  Guatimala  rid- 
iculed, and  all  at  once  he  found  himself  in  a  hornet's 
nest.  He  now  hdferd  Morazan  denounced  as  a  tyrant, 
his  officers  as  a  set  of  cutthroats,  banded  together  to  as- 
sassinate personal  enemies,  rob  churches,  and  kill 
priests  ;  they  had  met  the  fate  they  deserved,  and  the 
universal  sentiment  was,  so  perish  the  enemies  of  Gua- 
timala. The  captain  had  received  a  timely  caution. 
His  story  that  Morazan  would  have  killed  every  man  of 
Figoroa's  if  the  horses  had  not  been  so  tired,  had  circu- 
lated ;  it  was  considered  very  partial,  and  special  inqui- 
ries were  made  as  to  who  that  captain  was.  He  was 
compelled  to  listen  and  assent,  or  say  nothing.  On  the 
road  he  was  an  excessively  loud  talker,  spoke  the  lan- 
guage perfectly,  with  his  admirable  arms  and  horse  equip- 
ments always  made  a  dashing  entree  into  a  village,  and 
was  called  "  muy  valiante,"  "very  brave;"  but  here  he 
was  a  subdued  man,  attracting  a  great  deal  of  attention, 
but  without  any  of  the  eclat  which  had  attended  him  on 
the  road,  and  feeling  that  he  was  an  object  of  suspicion 

ARRIVAL     OF     MR.     CATHERWOOD.  117 

and  distrust.  But  he  had  one  consolation  that  nothing 
could  take  away :  he  had  not  been  in  the  battle,  or,  to 
use  his  own  expression,  he  might  now  be  lying  on  the 
ground  with  his  face  upward. 

In  the  afternoon,  unexpectedly,  Mr.  Catherwood  ar- 
rived. He  had  passed  a  month  at  the  Antigua,  and  had 
just  returned  from  a  second  visit  to  Copan,  and  had 
also  explored  other  ruins,  of  which  mention  will  be 
made  hereafter.  In  our  joy  at  meeting  we  tumbled  into 
each  other's  arms,  and  in  the  very  first  moment  resolved 
not  to  separate  again  while  in  that  distracted  country. 



Ruins  of  Quirigua.— Visit  to  them.— Los  Amates.— Pyramidal  Structure.— A 
Colossal  Head. — An  Altar. — A  Collection  of  Monuments. — Statues. — Charac- 
ter of  the  Ruins. — A  lost  City.— Purchasing  a  ruined  City. 

To  recur  for  a  moment  to  Mr.  Catherwood,  who, 
during  my  absence,  had  not  been  idle.  On  reaching 
Guatimala  the  first  time  from  Copan,  I  made  it  my  bu- 
siness to  inquire  particularly  for  ruins.  I  did  not  meet 
a  single  person  who  had  ever  visited  those  of  Copan,  and 
but  few  who  took  any  interest  whatever  in  the  antiqui- 
ties of  the  country ;  but,  fortunately,  a  few  days  after 
my  arrival,  Don  Carlos  Meiney,  a  Jamaica  Englishman, 
long  resident  in  tlie  country,  proprietor  of  a  large  haci- 
enda, and  extensively  engaged  in  mining  operations, 
made  one  of  his  regular  business  visits  to  the  capital. 
Besides  a  thorough  acquaintance  with  all  that  concerned 
his  own  immediate  pursuits,  this  gentleman  possessed 
much  general  information  respecting  the  country,  and  a 
curiosity  which  circumstances  had  never  permitted  him 
to  gratify  in  regard  to  antiquities ;  and  he  told  me  of 
the  ruins  of  Quirigua,  on  the  Motagua  River,  near 
Encuentros,  the  place  at  which  we  slept  the  second 
night  .after  crossing  the  Mico  Mountain.  He  had  never 
seen  them,  and  I  hardly  believed  it  possible  they  could 
exist,  for  at  that  place  we  had  made  special  inquiries  for 
the  ruins  of  Copan,  and  were  not  informed  of  any  oth- 
ers. I  became  satisfied,  however,  that  Don  Carlos  was 
a  man  who  did  not  speak  at  random.  They  were  on 
the  estate  of  Senor  Payes,  a  gentleman  of  Guatimala 
lately  deceased.  He  had  heard  of  them  from  Senor 

RUINS     OF     QTJIRIGUA.  119 

Payes,  and  had  taken  such  interest  in  the  subject  as  to 
inquire  for  and  obtain  the  details  of  particular  monu- 
ments. Three  sons  of  Seiior  Payes  had  succeeded  to 
his  estate,  and  at  my  request  Don  Carlos  called  with  me 
upon  them.  Neither  of  the  sons  had  ever  seen  the  ruins 
or  even  visited  the  estate.  It  was  an  immense  tract  of 
wild  land,  which  had  come  into  their  father's  hands 
many  years  before  for  a  mere  trifle.  He  had  visited  it 
once  ;  and  they  too  had  heard  him  speak  of  these  ruins. 
Lately  the  spirit  of  speculation  had  reached  that  coun- 
try ;  and  from  its  fertility  and  position  on  the  bank  of  a 
navigable  river  contiguous  to  the  ocean,  the  tract  had 
been  made  the  subject  of  a  prospectus,  to  be  sold  on 
shares  in  England.  The  prospectus  set  forth  the  great 
natural  advantages  of  the  location,  and  the  inducements 
held  out  to  emigrants,  in  terms  and  phrases  that  might 
have  issued  from  a  laboratory  in  New- York  before  the 
crash.  The  Senores  Payes  were  in  the  first  stage  of  an- 
ticipated wealth,  and  talked  in  the  familiar  strains  of 
city  builders  at  home.  They  were  roused  by  the  pros- 
pect of  any  indirect  addition  to  the  value  of  their  real 
estate  ;  told  me  that  two  of  them  were  then  making  ar- 
rangements to  visit  the  tract,  and  immediately  proposed 
that  I  should  accompany  them.  Mr.  Catherwood,  on 
his  road  from  Copan,  had  fallen  in  with  a  person  at 
Chiquimula  who  told  him  of  such  ruins,  with  the  addi- 
tion that  Colonel  Galindo  was  then  at  work  among. them. 
Being  in  the  neighbourhood,  he  had  some  idea  of  going 
to  visit  them  ;  but,  being  much  worn  with  his  labours  at 
Copan,  and  knowing  that  the  story  was  untrue  as  re- 
garded Colonel  Galindo,  whom  he  knew  to  be  in  a  dif- 
ferent section  of  the  country,  he  was  incredulous  as  to 
the  whole.  We  had  some  doubt  whether  they  would 
repay  the  labour ;  but  as  there  was  no  occasion  for  him 


to  accompany  me  to  San  Salvador,  it  was  agreed  that 
during  my  absence  he  should,  with  the  Senores  Payes,  go 
to  Quirigua,  which  he  accordingly  did. 

The  reader  must  go  back  to  Encuentros,  the  place  at 
which  we  slept  the  second  night  of  our  arrival  in  the 
country.  From  this  place  they  embarked  in  a  canoe 
about  twenty-five  feet  long  and  four  broad,  dug  out  of 
the  trunk  of  a  mahogany-tree,  and  descending  two 
hours,  disembarked  at  Los  Amates,  near  El  Poso,  on 
the  main  road  from  Yzabal  to  Guatimala,  the  place  at 
which  we  breakfasted  the  second  morning  of  our  arri- 
val in  the  country,  and  where  the  Senores  Payes  were 
obliged  to  wait  two  or  three  days.  The  place  was  a 
miserable  collection  of  huts,  scant  of  provisions,  and 
the  people  drank  a  muddy  water  at  their  doors  rather 
than  take  the  trouble  of  going  to  the  river. 

On  a  fine  morning,  after  a  heavy  rain,  they  set  off 
for  the  ruins.  After  a  ride  of  about  half  an  hour,  over 
an  execrable  road,  they  again  reached  the  Amates.  The 
village  was  pleasantly  situated  on  the  bank  of  the  river, 
and  elevated  about  thirty  feet.  The  river  was  here  about 
two  hundred  feet  wide,  and  fordable  in  every  part  except 
a  few  deep  holes.  Generally  it  did  not  exceed  three  feet 
in  depth,  and  in  many  places  was  not  so  deep ;  but  be- 
low it  was  said  to  be  navigable  to  the  sea  for  boats  not 
drawing  more  than  three  feet  water.  They  embarked 
in  two  canoes  dug  out  of  cedar-trees,  and  proceeded 
down  the  river  for  a  couple  of  miles,  where  they  took 
on  board  a  negro  man  named  Juan  Lima,  and  his  two 
wives.  This  black  scoundrel,  as  Mr.  C.  marks  him 
down  in  his  notebook,  was  to  be  their  guide.  They 
then  proceeded  two  or  three  miles  farther,  and  stopped 
at  a  rancho  on  the  left  side  of  the  river,  and  passing 
through  two  cornfields,  entered  a  forest  of  large  cedar 



and  mahogany  trees.  The  path  was  exceedingly  soft 
and  wet,  and  covered  with  decayed  leaves,  and  the 
heat  very  great.  Continuing  through  the  forest  toward 
the  northeast,  in  three  quarters  of  an  hour  they  reached 
the  foot  of  a  pyramidal  structure  like  those  at  Copan, 
with  the  steps  in  some  places  perfect.  They  ascended 
to  the  top,  about  twenty-five  feet,  and  descending  by 
steps  on  the  other  side,  at  a  short  distance  beyond  came 
to  a  colossal  head  two  yards  in  diameter,  almost  buried 
by  an  enormous  tree,  and  covered  with  moss.  Near  it 
was  a  large  altar,  so  covered  with  moss  that  it  was  im- 
possible to  make  anything  out  of  it.  The  two  are  with- 
in an  enclosure. 

Retracing  their  steps  across  the  pyramidal  structure, 
and  proceeding  to  the  north  about  three  or  four  hun- 
dred yards,  they  reached  a  collection  of  monuments  of 
the  same  general  character  with  those  at  Copan,  but 
twice  or  three  times  as  high. 

The  first  is  about  twenty  feet  high,  five  feet  six  inch- 
es on  two  sides,  and  two  feet  eight  on  the  other  two. 
The  front  represents  the  figure  of  a  man,  well  pre- 
served ;  the  back  that  of  a  woman,  much  defaced.  The 
sides  are  covered  with  hieroglyphics  in  good  preserva- 
tion, but  in  low  relief,  and  of  exactly  the  same  style  as 
those  at  Copan. 

Another,  represented  in  the  engraving,  is  twenty- 
three  feet  out  of  the  ground,  with  figures  of  men  on  the 
front  and  back,  and  hieroglyphics  in  low  relief  on  the 
sides,  and  surrounded  by  a  base  projecting  fifteen  or  six- 
teen feet  from  it. 

At  a  short  distance,  standing  in  the  same  position  as 
regards  the  points  of  the  compass,  is  an  obelisk  or  carv- 
ed stone,  twenty-six  feet  out  of  the  ground,  and  proba- 
bly six  or  eight  feet  under,  which  is  represented  in  the 

VOL.  II.— Q,  11 


engraving  opposite.  It  is  leaning  twelve  feet  two  inch- 
es out  of  the  perpendicular,  and  seems  ready  to  fall, 
which  is  probably  prevented  only  by  a  tree  that  has 
grown  up  against  it  and  the  large  stones  around  the 
base.  The  side  toward  the  ground  represents  the  fig- 
ure of  man,  very  perfect  and  finely  sculptured.  The 
upper  side  seemed  the  same,  but  was  so  hidden  by  ve- 
getation as  to  make  it  somewhat  uncertain.  The  other 
two  contain  hieroglyphics  in  low  relief.  In  size  and 
sculpture  this  is  the  finest  of  the  whole. 

A  statue  ten  feet  high  is  lying  on  the  ground,  cover- 
ed with  moss  and  herbage,  and  another  about  the  same 
size  lies  with  its  face  upward. 

There  are  four  others  erect,  about  twelve  feet  high, 
but  not  in  a  very  good  state  of  preservation,  and  several 
altars  so  covered  with  herbage  that  it  was  difficult  to 
ascertain  their  exa«t  form.  One  of  them  is  round,  and 
situated  on  a  small  elevation  within  a  circle  formed  by 
a  wall  of  stones.  In  the  centre  of  the  circle,  reached 
by  descending  very  narrow  steps,  is  a  large  round  stone, 
with  the  sides  sculptured  in  hieroglyphics,  covered  with 
vegetation,  and  supported  on  what  seemed  to  be  two 
colossal  heads. 

These  are  all  at  the  foot  of  a  pyramidal  wall,  near 
each  other,  and  in  the  vicinity  of  a  creek  which  empties 
into  the  Motagua.  Besides  these  they  counted  thir- 
teen fragments,  and  doubtless  many  others  may  yet  be 

At  some  distance  from  them  is  another  monument, 
nine  feet  out  of  ground,  and  probably  two  or  three  un- 
der, with  the  figure  of  a  woman  on  the  front  and  back, 
and  the  two  sides  richly  ornamented,  but  without  hie- 

The  next  day  the  negro  promised  to  show  Mr.  C. 
eleven  square  columns  higher  than  any  he  had  seen, 


A     LOST     CITY.  123 

standing  in  a  row  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain ;  but  after 
dragging  him  three  hours  through  the  mud,  Mr.  C. 
found  by  the  compass  that  he  was  constantly  changing 
his  direction ;  and  as  the  man  was  armed  with  pistols, 
notoriously  a  bad  fellow,  and  indignant  at  the  owners 
of  the  land  for  coming  down  to  look  after  their  squat- 
ters, Mr.  C.  became  suspicious  of  him,  and  insisted  upon 
returning.  The  Payes  were  engaged  with  their  own  af- 
fairs, and  having  no  one  to  assist  him,  Mr.  Catherwood 
was  unable  to  make  any  thorough  exploration  or  any 
complete  drawings. 

The  general  character  of  these  ruins  is  the  same  as  at 
Copan.  The  monuments  are  much  larger,  but  they  are 
sculptured  in  lower  relief,  less  rich  in  design,  and  more 
faded  and  worn,  probably  being  of  a  much  older  date. 
Of  one  thing  there  is  no  doubt :  a  large  city  once 
stood  there  ;  its  name  is  lost,  its  history  unknown  ;  and, 
except  for  a  notice  taken  from  Mr.  C.'s  notes,  and  in- 
serted by  the  Senores  Payes  in  a  Guatimala  paper  after 
the  visit,  which  found  its  way  to  this  country  and  Eu- 
rope, no  account  of  its  existence  has  ever  before  been 
published.  For  centuries  it  has  lain  as  completely  bu- 
ried as  if  covered  with  the  lava  of  Vesuvius.  Every 
traveller  from  Yzabal  to  Guatimala  has  passed  within 
three  hours  of  it ;  we  ourselves  had  done  the  same  ;  and 
yet  there  it  lay,  like  the  rock-built  city  of  Edom,  unvis- 
ited,  unsought,  and  utterly  unknown. 

The  morning  after  Mr.  C.  returned  I  called  upon 
Senor  Payes,  the  only  one  of  the  brothers  then  in 
Guatimala,  and  opened  a  negotiation  for  the  purchase 
of  these  ruins.  Besides  their  entire  newness  and  im- 
mense interest  as  an  unexplored  field  of  antiquarian  re- 
search, the  monuments  were  but  about  a  mile  from  the 
river,  the  ground  was  level  to  the  bank,  and  the  river 


from  that  place  was  navigable  ;  the  city  might  be  trans- 
ported bodily  and  set  up  in  New- York.  I  expressly 
stated  (and  my  reason  for  doing  so  will  be  obvious) 
that  I  was  acting  in  this  matter  on  my  own  account, 
that  it  was  entirely  a  personal  affair  ;  but  Senor  Pa- 
yes  would  consider  me  as  acting  for  my  government, 
and  said,  what  I  am  sure  he  meant,  that  if  his  family 
was  as  it  had  been  once,  they  would  be  proud  to  pre- 
sent the  whole  to  the  United  States  ;  in  that  country 
they  were  not  appreciated,  and  he  would  be  happy  to 
contribute  to  the  cause  of  science  in  ours  ;  but  they 
were  impoverished  by  the  convulsions  of  the  country; 
and,  at  all  events,  he  could  give  me  no  answer  till  his 
brothers  returned,  who  were  expected  in  two  or  three 
days.  Unfortunately,  as  I  believe  for  both  of  us,  Senor 
Payes  consulted  with  the  French  consul  general,  who 
put  an  exaggerated  value  upon  the  ruins,  referring  him 
to  the  expenditure  of  several  hundred  thousand  dollars 
by  the  French  government  in  transporting  one  of  the 
obelisks  of  Luxor  from  Thebes  to  Paris.  Probably,  be- 
fore the  speculating  scheme  referred  to,  the  owners 
would  have  been  glad  to  sell  the  whole  tract,  consisting 
of  more  than  fifty  thousand  acres,  with  everything  on  it, 
known  and  unknown,  for  a  few  thousand  dollars.  I 
was  anxious  to  visit  them  myself,  and  learn  with  more 
certainty  the  possibility  of  their  removal,  but  was  afraid 
of  increasing  the  extravagance  of  his  notions.  His 
brothers  did  not  arrive,  and  one  of  them  unfortunately 
died  on  the  road.  I  had  not  the  government  for  pay- 
master ;  it  might  be  necessary  to  throw  up  the  purchase 
on  account  of  the  cost  of  removal ;  and  I  left  an  offer 
with  Mr.  Savage,  the  result  of  which  is  still  uncertain ; 
but  I  trust  that  when  these  pages  reach  the  hands  of  the 
reader,  two  of  the  largest  monuments  will  be  on  their 
way  to  this  city. 


CHAPTER  VIII.        eJ4VJ 

Reception  at  the  Government  House. — The  Captain  in  Trouble. — A  Change  cf 
Character. — Arrangements  for  Journey  to  Palenque. — Arrest  of  the  Captain. — 
His  Release. — Visit  from  a  Countryman.— Dangers  in  Prospect.— Last  Stroll 
through  the  Suburbs. — Hospital  and  Cemetery  of  San  Juan  de  Dios. — Fearful 
State  of  the  Country.— Last  Interview  with  Carrera, — Departure  from  Guati- 
mala.  —  A  Don  Quixote.  —  Ciudad  Vieja.  —  Plain  of  El  Vieja.  —  Volcanoes, 
Plains,  and  Villages. — San  Andres  Isapa. — Dangerous  Road. — A  Molina. 

THE  next  day  I  called  upon  the  chief  of  the  state. 
At  this  time  there  was  no  question  of  presenting  creden- 
tials, and  I  was  received  by  him  and  all  gentlemen 
connected  with  him  without  any  distrust  or  suspicion, 
and  more  as  one  identified  with  them  in  feelings  and  in- 
terests than  as  a  foreign  agent.  I  had  seen  more  of 
their  country  than  any  one  present,  and  spoke  of  its  ex- 
traordinary beauty  and  fertility,  its  volcanoes  and  mount- 
ains, the  great  canal  which  might  make  it  known  to  all 
the  civilized  world,  and  its  immense  resources,  if  they 
would  let  the  sword  rest  and  be  at  peace  among  them- 
selves. Some  of  the  remarks  in  these  pages  will  per- 
haps be  considered  harsh,  and  a  poor  return  for  the 
kindness  shown  to  me.  My  predilections  were  in  fa- 
vour of  the  Liberal  party,  as  well  because  they  sustain- 
ed the  Federation  as  because  they  gave  me  a  chance 
for  a  government ;  but  I  have  a  warm  feeling  toward 
many  of  the  leading  members  of  the  Central  party.  If 
I  speak  harshly,  it  is  of  their  public  and  political  char- 
acter only ;  and  if  I  have  given  offence,  I  regret  it. 

As  I  was  leaving  the  Government  House  a  gentleman 
followed  me,  and  asked  me  who  that  captain  was  that 
had  accompanied  me,  adding,  what  surprised  me  not  a 
little,  that  the  government  had  advices  of  his  travelling 

126  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

up  with  me  from  La  Union,  his  intention  to  join  Mora- 
zan's  expedition,  and  his  change  of  purpose  in  conse- 
quence of  meeting  Morazan  defeated  on  the  road  ;  that 
as  yet  he  was  not  molested  only  because  he  was  stay- 
ing at  my  house.  I  was  disturbed  by  this  communica- 
tion. I  was  open  to  the  imputation  of  taking  advan- 
tage of  my  official  character  to  harbour  a  partisan.  1 
was  the  only  friend  the  captain  had,  and  of  course  de- 
termined to  stand  by  him ;  but  he  was  not  only  an  ob- 
ject of  suspicion,  but  actually  known ;  for  much  less 
cause  men  were  imprisoned  and  shot ;  in  case  of  any 
outbreak,  my  house  would  not  be  a  protection;  it  was 
best  to  avoid  any  excitement,  and  to  have  an  under- 
standing at  once.  With  this  view  I  returned  to  the 
chief  of  the  state,  and  mentioned  the  circumstances  under 
which  we  had  travelled  together,  with  the  addition  that, 
as  to  myself,  I  would*  have  taken  a  much  more  question- 
able companion  rather  than  travel  alone ;  and  as  to  the 
captain,  if  he  had  happened  to  be  thrown  ashore  on  their 
coast,  he  would  very  likely  have  taken  a  campaign  on 
their  side  ;  that  he  was  not  on  his  way  to  join  the  expe- 
dition when  we  met  Morazan,  and  assured  him  most 
earnestly  that  now  he  understood  better  the  other  side 
of  the  question,  and  I  would  answer  for  his  keeping 
quiet.  Don  Rivera  Paz,  as  I  felt  well  assured,  was  de- 
sirous to  allay  rather  than  create  excitement  in  the  city, 
received  my  communication  in  the  best  spirit  possible, 
and  said  the  captain  had  better  present  himself  to  the 
government.  I  returned  to  my  house,  and  found  the 
captain  alone,  already  by  no  means  pleased  with  the 
turn  of  his  fortunes.  My  communication  did  not  relieve 
him,  but  he  accompanied  me  to  the  Government  House. 
I  could  hardly  persuade  myself  that  he  was  the  same 
man  whose  dashing  appearance  on  the  road  had  often 

A     CHANGE     OP     CHARACTER.  127 

made  the  women  whisper  "  muy  valiente,"  and  whose 
answer  to  all  intimations  of  danger  was,  that  a  man  can 
only  die  once.  To  be  sure,  the  soldiers  in  the  corridor 
seemed  to  intimate  that  they  had  found  him  out ;  the 
gentlemen  in  the  room  surveyed  him  from  head  to  foot, 
as  if  taking  notes  for  an  advertisement  of  his  person, 
and  their  looks  appeared  to  say  they  would  know  him 
when  they  met  him  again.  On  horseback  and  with  a 
fair  field,  the  captain  would  have  defied  the  whole  no- 
blesse of  Guatimala ;  but  he  was  completely  cowed, 
spoke  only  when  he  was  spoken  to,  and  walked  out 
with  less  effrontery  than  I  supposed  possible. 

And  now  I  would  fain  let  the  reader  sit  down  and 
enjoy  himself  quietly  in  Guatimala,  but  I  cannot.  The 
place  did  not  admit  of  it.  I  could  not  conceal  from 
myself  that  the  Federal  Government  was  broken  up ; 
there  was  not  the  least  prospect  of  its  ever  being  re- 
stored, nor,  for  a  long  time  to  come,  of  any  other  being 
organized  in  its  stead.  Under  these  circumstances  I 
did  not  consider  myself  justified  in  remaining  any  longer 
in  the  country.  I  was  perfectly  useless  for  all  the  pur- 
poses of  my  mission,  and  made  a  formal  return  to  the 
authorities  of  Washington,  in  effect,  "  after  diligent 
search,  no  government  found." 

I  was  once  more  my  own  master,  at  liberty  to  go 
where  I  pleased,  at  my  own  expense,  and  immediately 
we  commenced  making  arrangements  for  our  journey 
to  Palenque.  We  had  no  time  to  lose  ;  it  was  a  thou- 
sand miles  distant,  and  the  rainy  season  was  approach- 
ing, during  which  part  of  the  road  was  impassable. 
There  was  no  one  in  the  city  who  had  ever  made  the 
journey.  The  archbishop,  on  his  exit  from  Guatimala 
eight  years  before,  had  fled  by  that  road,  and  since  his 
time  it  had  not  been  travelled  by  any  resident  of  Gua- 


timala  ;  but  we  learned  enough  to  satisfy  us  that  it 
would  be  less  difficult  to  reach  Palenque  from  New- 
York  than  from  where  we  were.  We  had  many  prep- 
arations to  make,  and,  from  the  impossibility  of  getting 
servants  upon  whom  we  could  rely,  were  obliged  to 
attend  to  all  the  details  ourselves.  The  captain  was 
uncertain  what  to  do  with  himself,  and  talked  of  going 
with  us.  The  next  afternoon,  as  we  were  returning  to 
the  house,  we  noticed  a  line  of  soldiers  at  the  corner  of 
the  street.  As  usual,  we  gave  them  the  sidewalk,  and 
in  crossing  I  remarked  to  the  captain  that  they  eyed  us 
sharply  and  spoke  to  each  other.  The  line  extended 
past  my  door  and  up  to  the  corner  of  the  next  street. 
Supposing  that  they  were  searching  for  General  Guz- 
man or  other  officers  of  General  Morazan  who  were 
thought  to  be  secreted  in  the  city,  and  that  they  would 
not  spare  my  house,  I  determined  to  make  no  difficulty, 
and  let  them  search.  We  went  in,  and  the  porter,  with 
great  agitation,  told  us  that  the  soldiers  were  in  pursuit 
of  the  captain.  He  had  hardly  finished  when  an  officer 
entered  to  summon  the  captain  before  the  corregidor. 
The  captain  turned  as  pale  as  death.  I  do  not  mean 
it  as  an  imputation  upon  his  courage ;  any  other  man 
would  have  done  the  same.  I  was  as  much  alarmed 
as  he,  and  told  him  that  if  he  said  so  I  would  fasten  the 
doors ;  but  he  answered  it  was  of  no  use  ;  they  would 
break  them  down  ;  and  it  was  better  for  him  to  go  with 
the  officers.  I  followed  him  to  the  door,  telling  him 
not  to  make  any  confessions,  not  to  commit  himself,  and 
that  I  would  be  with  him  in  a  few  minutes.  I  saw 
at  once  that  the  affair  was  out  of  the  hands  of  the 
chief  of  the  state,  and  had  got  before  an  inferior  tribu- 
nal. Mr.  Catherwood  and  Mr.  Savage  entered  in  time 
to  see  the  captain  moving  down  the  street  with  his  es- 

A     FRIEND     IN     NEED.  129 

cort.  Mr.  S.,  who  had  charge  of  my  house  during 
my  absence,  and  had  hoisted  the  American  flag  du- 
ring the  attack  upon  the  city,  had  lived  so  long  in  that 
country,  and  had  beheld  so  many  scenes  of  horror, 
that  he  was  not  easily  disturbed,  and  knew  exactly 
what  to  do.  He  accompanied  me  to  the  cabildo, 
where  we  found  the  captain  sitting  bolt  upright  with- 
in the  railing,  and  the  corregidor  and  his  clerk,  with 
pen,  ink,  and  paper,  and  ominous  formality,  exam- 
ining him.  His  face  brightened  at  sight  of  the  only 
man  in  Guatimala  who  took  the  le'ast  interest  in  his 
fate.  Fortunately,  the  corregidor  was  an  acquaintance, 
who  had  been  pleased  with  the  interest  I  took  in  the 
sword  of  Alvarado,  an  interesting  relic  in  his  custody, 
and  was  one  of  the  many  whom  I  found  in  that  coun- 
try proud  of  showing  attentions  to  a  foreign  agent.  I 
claimed  the  captain  as  my  travelling  companion,  said 
that  we  had  a  rough  journey  together,  and  I  did  not 
like  to  lose  sight  of  him.  He  welcomed  me  back  to 
Guatimala,  and  appreciated  the  peril  I  must  have  en- 
countered in  meeting  on  the  road  the  tyrant  Morazan. 
The  captain  took  advantage  of  the  opportunity  to  de- 
tach himself,  without  any  compunctions,  from  such  dan- 
gerous fellowship,  and  we  conversed  till  it  was  too  dark 
to  write,  when  I  suggested  that,  as  it  was  dangerous  to 
be  out  at  night,  I  wished  to  take  the  captain  home  with 
me,  and  would  be  responsible  for  his  forthcoming. 
He  assented  with  great  courtesy,  and  told  the  captain  to 
return  at  nine  o'clock  the  next  morning.  The  captain 
was  immensely  relieved ;  but  he  had  already  made  up 
his  mind  that  he  had  come  to  Guatimala  on  a  trading 
expedition,  and  to  make  great  use  of  his  gold  chains. 

The  next  day  the  examination  was  resumed.     The 

VOL.  II.— R 


captain  certainly  did  not  commit  himself  by  any  con- 
fessions ;  indeed,  the  revolution  in  his  sentiments  was 
mos",  extraordinary.  The  Guatimala  air  was  fatal  to 
partialities  for  Morazan.  The  examination,  by  favour 
of  the  corregidor,  was  satisfactory  ;  but  the  captain  was 
advised  to  leave  the  city.  In  case  of  any  excitement 
he  would  be  in  danger.  Carrera  was  expected  from 
Quezaltenango  in  a  few  days,  and  if  he  took  it  up, 
which  he  was  not  unlikely  to  do,  it  might  be  a  bad 
business.  The  captain  did  not  need  any  urging.  A 
council  was  held  to  determine  which  way  he  should  go, 
and  the  road  to  the  port  was  the  only  one  open.  He 
had  a  horse  and  one  cargo-mule,  and  wanted  another 
for  those  trunks.  I  had  seven  in  my  yard,  and  told 
him  to  take  one.  On  a  bright  morning  he  pulled  off 
his  frockcoat,  put  on  his  travelling  dress,  mounted,  and 
set  off  for  Balize.  I  watched  him  as  he  rode  down  the 
street  till  he  was  out  of  sight.  Poor  captain,  where  is 
he  now  ?  The  next  time  I  saw  him  was  at  my  own 
house  in  New- York.  He  was  taken  sick  at  Balize,  and 
got  on  board  a  brig  bound  for  Boston,  was  there  at  the 
time  of  my  arrival,  and  came  on  to  see  me  ;  and  the 
last  that  I  saw  of  him,  afraid  to  return  across  the  coun- 
try to  get  the  account  sales  of  his  ship,  he  was  about  to 
embark  for  the  Isthmus  of  Panama,  cross  over,  and  go 
up  the  Pacific.  I  was  knocked  about  myself  in  that 
country,  but  I  think  the  captain  will  not  soon  forget 
his  campaign  with  Morazan. 

At  this  time  I  received  a  visit  from  a  countryman, 
whom  I  regretted  not  to  have  seen  before.  It  was 
Dr.  Weems,  of  Maryland,  who  had  resided  several 
years  at  the  Antigua,  and  lately  returned  from  a  visit 
to  the  United  States,  with  an  appointment  as  consul. 
He  came  to  consult  me  in  regard  to  the  result  ol 


my  search  for  a  government,  as  he  was  on  the  track 
with  his  own  credentials.  The  doctor  advised  me  not 
to  undertake  the  journey  to  Palenque.  In  my  race 
from  Nicaragua  I  had  cheered  myself  with  the  idea 
that,  on  reaching  Guatimala,  all  difficulty  was  over, 
and  that  our  journey  to  Palenque  would  be  attended 
only  by  the  hardships  of  travelling  in  a  country  desti- 
tute of  accommodations  ;  but,  unfortunately,  the  hori- 
zon in  that  direction  was  lowering.  The  whole  mass 
of  the  Indian  population  of  Los  Altos  was  in  a  state 
of  excitement,  and  there  were  whispers  of  a  general 
rising  and  massacre  of  the  whites.  General  Prem,  to 
whom  I  have  before  referred,  and  his  wife,  while  trav- 
elling toward  Mexico,  had  been  attacked  by  a  band  of 
assassins ;  he  himself  was  left  on  the  ground  for  dead, 
and  his  wife  murdered,  her  fingers  cut  off,  and  the 
rings  torn  from  them.  Lieutenant  Nichols,  the  aidde- 
camp  of  Colonel  M'Donald,  arrived  from  the  Balize 
with  a  report  that  Captain  Caddy  and  Mr.  Walker,  who 
had  set  out  for  Palenque  by  the  Balize  River,  had  been 
speared  by  the  Indians  ;  and  there  was  a  rumour  of 
some  dreadful  atrocity  committed  by  Carrera  in  Quez- 
altenango,  and  that  he  was  hurrying  back  from  that 
place  infuriate,  with  the  intention  of  bringing  all  the 
prisoners  out  into  the  plaza  and  shooting  them.  Every 
friend  in  Guatimala,  and  Mr.  Chatfield  particularly, 
urged  us  not  to  undertake  the  journey.  "We  felt  that 
it  was  a  most  inauspicious  moment,  and  almost  shrunk ; 
I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  it  was  a  matter  of 
most  serious  consideration  whether  we  should  not  aban- 
don it  altogether  and  go  home  ;  but  we  had  set  out  with 
the  purpose  of  going  to  Palenque,  and  could  not  return 
without  seeing  it. 

Among  the  petty  difficulties  of  fitting  ourselves  I  may 

132  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

mention  that  we  wanted  four  iron  chains  for  trunks,  but 
could  only  get  two,  for  every  blacksmith  in  the  place 
was  making  chains  for  the  prisoners.  In  a  week  from 
the  time  of  my  arrival  everything  was  ready  for  our  de- 
parture. We  provided  ourselves  with  all  the  facilities 
and  safeguards  that  could  be  procured.  Besides  pass- 
ports, the  government  furnished  us  special  letters  of  rec- 
ommendation to  all  the  corregidors  ;  a  flattering  notice 
appeared  in  the  government  paper,  El  Tiempo,  men- 
tioning my  travels  through  the  provinces  and  my  intend- 
ed route,  and  recommending  me  to  hospitality ;  and, 
upon  the  strength  of  the  letter  of  the  Archbishop  of  Bal- 
timore, the  venerable  provesor  gave  me  a  letter  of  rec- 
ommendation to  all  the  curas  under  his  charge.  But 
these  were  not  enough ;  Carrera's  name  was  worth  more 
than  them  all,  and  we  waited  two  days  for  his  return 
from  Quezaltenango.  On  the  sixth  of  April,  early  in 
the  morning,  he  entered  the  city.  At  about  nine  o'clock 
I  called  at  his  house,  and  was  informed  that  he  was  in 
bed,  had  ridden  all  night,  and  would  not  rise  till  the  af- 
ternoon. The  rumour  of  the  atrocity  committed  at  that 
place  was  confirmed. 

After  dinner,  in  company  with  Mr.  Savage,  I  made 
my  last  stroll  in  the  suburbs  of  the  city.  I  never  felt,  as 
at  that  moment,  its  exceeding  beauty  of  position,  and 
for  the  third  time  I  visited  the  hospital  and  cemetery  of 
San  Juan  de  Dios.  In  front  was  the  hospital,  a  noble 
structure,  formerly  a  convent,  supported  principally  by 
the  active  charity  of  Don  Mariano  Aycinena.  In  the 
centre  of  the  courtyard  was  a  fine  fountain,  and  beyond 
it  the  cemetery,  which  was  established  at  the  time  of  the 
cholera.  The  entrance  was  by  a  broad  passage  with  a 
high  wall  on  each  side,  intended  for  the  burial  of  "  her- 

A    BURIAL-PLACE.  133 

«tics."  There  was  but  one  grave,  and  the  stone  bore 
Ihe  inscription 

Teodoro  Ashadl, 

de  la  Religione  Reformada. 

July  19  de  1837. 

At  the  end  of  this  passage  was  a  deadhouse,  in  which 
lay,  on  separate  beds,  the  bodies  of  two  men,  both  poor, 
one  entirely  naked,  with  his  legs  drawn  up,  as  though 
no  friend  had  been  by  to  straighten  them,  and  the  other 
wrapped  in  matting.  On  the  right  of  the  passage  a  door 
opened  into  a  square  enclosure,  in  which  were  vaults 
built  above  the  ground,  bearing  the  names  of  the  weal- 
thy inhabitants  of  the  city.  On  the  left  a  door  opened 
into  an  enclosure  running  in  the  rear  of  the  deadhouse, 
about  seven  hundred  and  fifty  feet  long,  and  three  hun- 
dred wide.  The  walls  were  high  and  thick,  and  the 
graves  were  square  recesses  lengthwise  in  the  wall, 
three  tiers  deep,  each  closed  up  with  a  flat  stone,  on 
which  the  name  of  the  occupant  was  inscribed.  These, 
too,  were  for  the  rich.  The  area  was  filled  with  the 
graves  of  the  common  people,  and  in  one  place  was  a 
square  of  new-made  earth,  under  which  lay  the  bodies 
of  about  four  hundred  men  killed  in  the  attack  upon  the 
city.  The  table  of  land  commanded  a  view  of  the  green 
plain  of  Guatimala  and  the  volcanoes  of  the  Antigua. 
Beautiful  flowers  were  blooming  over  the  graves,  and  a 
voice  seemed  to  say, 

"  Oh  do  not  pluck  these  flowers, 
They're  sacred  to  the  dead." 

A  bier  approached  with  the  body  of  a  woman,  which 
was  buried  without  any  coffin.  Near  by  was  a  line  of 
new-made  graves  waiting  for  tenants.  They  were  dug 
through  skeletons,  and  sculls  and  bones  lay  in  heaps  be- 
side them.  I  rolled  three  sculls  together  with  my  foot 



It  was  a  gloomy  leave-taking  of  Guatimala.  The  earth 
slipped  under  my  feet  and  I  fell  backward,  but  saved 
myself  by  stepping  across  a  new-made  grave.  I  verily 
believe  that  if  I  had  fallen  into  it,  I  should  have  been 
superstitious,  and  afraid  to  set  out  on  my  journey. 

I  have  mentioned  that  there  were  rumours  in  the 
city  of  some  horrible  outrage  committed  by  Carrera 
at  Quezaltenango.  He  had  set  out  from  Guatimala 
in  pursuit  of  Morazan.  Near  the  Antigua  he  met  one 
of  his  own  soldiers  from  Quezaltenango,  who  report- 
ed that  there  had  been  a  rising  in  that  town,  and  the 
garrison  were  compelled  to  lay  down  their  arms.  En- 
raged  at  this  intelligence,  he  abandoned  his  pursuit  of 
Morazan,  and,  without  even  advising  the  government 
of  his  change  of  plan,  marched  to  Quezaltenango,  and 
among  other  minor  outrages  seized  eighteen-  of  the 
municipality,  the  first  men  of  the  state,  and  without 
the  slightest  form  of  trial  shot  them  in  the  plaza; 
and,  to  heighten  the  gloom  which  this  news  cast  over 
the  city,  a  rumour  preceded  him  that,  immediately  on 
his  arrival,  he  intended  to  order  out  all  the  prisoners 
and  shoot  them  also.  At  this  time  the  repressed  ex- 
citement in  the  city  was  fearful.  An  immense  relief 
was  experienced  on  the  repulse  of  Morazan,  but  there 
had  been  no  rejoicing  ;  and  again  the  sword  seemed 
suspended  by  a  single  hair. 

And  here  I  would  remark,  as  at  a  place  where  it  has 
no  immediate  connexion  with  what  precedes  or  what 
follows,  and,  consequently,  where  no  application  of  it 
can  be  made,  that  some  matters  of  deep  personal  inter- 
est, which  illustrate,  more  than  volumes,  the  dreadful 
state  of  the  country,  I  am  obliged  to  withhold  altogeth- 
er, lest,  perchance,  these  pages  should  find  their  way 
to  Guatimala  and  compromise  individuals.  In  my  long 


journey  I  had  had  intercourse  with  men  of  all  parties, 
and  was  spoken  to  freely,  and  sometimes  confidentially. 
Heretofore,  in  all  the  wars  and  revolutions  the  whites 
had  the  controlling  influence,  but  at  this  time  the  In- 
dians were  the  dominant  power.  Roused  from  the 
sloth  of  ages,  and  with  muskets  in  their  hands,  their 
gentleness  was  changed  into  ferocity ;  and  even  among 
the  adherents  of  the  Carrera  party  there  was  a  fearful 
apprehension  of  a  war  of  castes,  and  a  strong  desire,  on 
the  part  of  those  who  could  get  away,  to  leave  the  coun- 
try. I  was  consulted  by  men  having  houses  and  large 
landed  estates,  but  who  could  only  command  two  or 
three  thousand  dollars  in  money,  as  to  their  ability  to 
live  on  that  sum  in  the  United  States ;  and  individuals 
holding  high  offices  under  the  Central  party  told  me 
that  they  had  their  passports  from  Mexico,  and  were 
ready  at  any  moment  to  fly.  There  seemed  ground  for 
the  apprehension  that  the  hour  of  retributive  justice  was 
nigh,  and  that  a  spirit  was  awakened  among  the  Indians 
to  make  a  bloody  offering  to  the  spirits  of  their  fathers, 
and  recover  their  inheritance.  Carrera  was  the  pivot 
on  which  this  turned.  He  was  talked  of  as  El  rey  de 
los  Indies,  the  King  of  the  Indians.  He  had  relieved 
them  from  all  taxes,  and,  as  they  said,  supported  his 
army  by  levying  contributions  upon  the  whites.  His 
power  by  a  word  to  cause  the  massacre  of  every  white 
inhabitant,  no  one  doubted.  Their  security  was,  as  I 
conceived,  that,  in  the  constant  action  of  his  short 
career,  he  had  not  had  time  to  form  any  plans  for  ex- 
tended dominion,  and  knew  nothing  of  the  immense 
country  from  Texas  to  Cape  Horn,  occupied  by  a  race 
sympathizing  in  hostility  to  the  whites.  He  was  a  fa- 
natic, and,  to  a  certain  extent,  under  the  dominion  of 
the  priests;  and  his  own  acuteness  told  him  that  he 


was  more  powerful  with  the  Indians  themselves  v-iiilc 
supported  by  the  priests  and  the  aristocracy  than  at 
the  head  of  the  Indians  only ;  but  all  knew  that,  in  the 
moment  of  passion,  he  forgot  entirely  the  little  of  plan 
or  policy  that  ever  governed  him ;  and  when  he  return- 
ed from  Quezaltenango,  his  hands  red  with  blood,  and 
preceded  by  the  fearful  rumour  that  he  intended  to 
bring  out  two  or  three  hundred  prisoners  and  shoot 
them,  the  citizens  of  Guatimala  felt  that  they  stood 
on  the  brink  of  a  fearful  gulf.  A  leading  member  of 
the  government,  whom  I  wished  to  call  with  me  upon 
him  and  ask  him  for  his  passport,  declined  doing  so, 
lest,  as  he  said,  Carrera  should  think  the  government 
was  trying  to  lead  him.  Others  paid  him  formal  visits 
of  ceremony  and  congratulation  upon  his  return,  and 
compared  notes  with  each  other  as  to  the  manner  in 
which  they  were  re'ceived.  Carrera  made  no  report, 
official  or  verbal,  of  what  he  had  done  ;  and  though  all 
were  full  of  it,  no  one  of  them  dared  ask  him  any  ques- 
tions, or  refer  to  it.  They  will  perhaps  pronounce  me 
a  calumniator,  but  even  at  the  hazard  of  wounding 
their  feelings,  I  cannot  withhold  what  I  believe  to  be 
a  true  picture  of  the  state  of  the  country  as  it  was  at 
that  time. 

Unable  to  induce  any  of  the  persons  I  wished  to  call 
with  me  upon  Carrera ;  afraid,  after  such  a  long  interval 
and  such  exciting  scenes  as  he  had  been  engaged  in, 
that  he  might  not  recognise  me,  and  feeling  that  it  was 
all  important  not  to  fail  in  my  application  to  him,  I  re- 
membered that  in  my  first  interview  he  had  spoken 
warmly  of  a  doctor  who  had  extracted  a  ball  from  his 
side.  This  doctor  I  did  not  know,  but  I  called  upon 
him,  and  asked  him  to  accompany  me,  to  which,  with 
great  civility,  he  immediately  assented. 

LAST     INTERVIEW     WITH     CAREER  A.        137 

It  was  under  these  circumstances  that  I  made  my 
last  visit  to  Carrera.  He  had  removed  into  a  much 
larger  house,  and  his  guard  was  more  regular  and  for- 
mal. When  I  entered  he  was  standing  behind  a  table 
on  one  side  of  the  room,  with  his  wife,  and  Rivera  Paz, 
and  one  or  two  others,  examining  some  large  Costa 
Rica  chains,  and  at  the  moment  he  had  one  in  his  hands 
which  had  formed  part  of  the  contents  of  those  trunks  of 
my  friend  the  captain,  and  which  had  often  adorned  his 
neck.  I  think  it  would  have  given  the  captain  a  spasm 
if  he  had  known  that  anything  once  around  his  neck 
was  between  Carrera's  fingers.  His  wife  was  a  pretty, 
delicate-looking  Mestitzo,  not  more  than  twenty,  and 
seemed  to  have  a  woman's  fondness  for  chains  and 
gold.  Carrera  himself  looked  at  them  with  indiffer- 
ence. My  idea  at  the  time  was,  that  these  jewels 
were  sent  in  by  the  government  as  a  present  to  his 
wife,  and  through  her  to  propitiate  him,  but  perhaps 
I  was  wrong.  The  face  of  Rivera  Paz  seemed  anx- 
ious. Carrera  had  passed  through  so  many  terrible 
scenes  since  I  saw  him,  that  I  feared  he  had  forgotten 
me  ;  but  he  recognised  me  in  a  moment,  and  made  room 
for  me  behind  the  table  next  to  himself.  His  military 
coat  lay  on  the  table,  and  he  wore  the  same  roundabout 
jacket,  his  face  had  the  same  youthfulness,  quickness, 
and  intelligence,  his  voice  and  manners  the  same  gen- 
tleness and  seriousness,  and  he  had  again  been  wound- 
ed. I  regretted  to  meet  Rivera  Paz  there,  for  I  thought 
it  must  be  mortifying  to  him,  as  the  head  of  the  govern- 
ment, to  see  that  his  passport  was  not  considered  a  pro- 
tection without  Carrera's  endorsement ;  but  I  couid  not 
stand  upon  ceremony,  and  took  advantage  of  Carrera's 
leaving  the  table  to  say  to  him  that  I  was  setting  out  on 
a  dangerous  road,  and  considered  it  indispensable  to  for- 

VOL.  II.— S 

138  INCIDENTS     Or    TRAVEL, 

tify  myself  with  all  the  security  I  could  get.  When 
Carrera  returned  I  told  him  my  purpose ;  that  I  had 
waited  only  for  his  return ;  showed  him  the  passport 
of  the  government,  and  asked  him  to  put  his  stamp 
upon  it.  Carrera  had  no  delicacy  in  the  matter ;  and 
taking  the  passport  out  of  my  hand,  threw  it  on  the  ta- 
ble, saying  he  would  make  me  out  a  new  one,  and 
sign  it  himself.  This  was  more  than  I  expected ;  but 
in  a  quiet  way  telling  me  to  "  be  seated,"  he  sent  his 
wife  into  another  room  for  the  secretary,  and  told  him 
to  make  out  a  passport  for  the  "  Consul  of  the  North." 
He  had  an  indefinite  idea  that  I  was  a  great  man  in 
ray  own  country,  but  he  had  a  very  indefinite  idea  as 
to-  where  my  country  was.  I  was  not  particular  about 
my  title  so  that  it  was  big  enough,  but  the  North  was 
rather  a  broad  range,  and  to  prevent  mistakes  I  gave 
the  secretary  the  other  passport.  He  took  it  into  an- 
other room,  and  Carrera  sat  down  at  the  table  beside 
me.  He  had  heard  of  rny  having  met  Morazan  on  his 
retreat,  and  inquired  about  him,  though  less  anxiously 
than  others,,  but  he  spoke  more  to  the  purpose ;  said 
that  he  was  making  preparations,  and  in  a  week  he  in- 
tended to  march  upon  San  Salvador  with  three  thou- 
sand men,  adding  that  if  he  had  had  cannon  he  would 
have  driven  Morazan  from  the  plaza  very  soon.  I  asked 
him  whether  it  was  true  that  he  and  Morazan  met  per- 
sonally on  the  heights  of  Calvary,  and  he  said  that  they 
did  ;  that  it  was  toward  the  last  of  the  battler  when  the 
latter  was  retreating.  One  of  Morazan's  dismounted 
troopers  tore  off  his  holsters  ;  Morazan  fired  a  pistol  at 
him,  and  he  struck  at  Morazan  with  his  sword,  and  cut 
his  saddle.  Morazan,  he  said^  had  very  handsome  pis- 
tols ;  and  it  struck  me  that  he  thought  if  he  had  kil- 
led Morazan  he  would  have  got  the  pistols.  I  could 

C  A  R  R  E  R  A.  139 

not  but  think  of  the  strange  positions  into  which  I 
was  thrown :  shaking  hands  and  sitting  side  by  side 
with  men  who  were  thirsting  for  each  other's  blood, 
well  received  by  all,  hearing  what  they  said  of  each 
other,  and  in  many  cases  their  plans  and  purposes,  as 
unreservedly  as  if  I  was  a  travelling  member  of  both 
cabinets.  In  a  few  minutes  the  secretary  called  him, 
and  he  went  out  and  brought  back  the  passport  himself, 
signed  with  his  own  hand,  the  ink  still  wet.  It  had 
taken  him  longer  than  it  would  have  done  to  cut  off  a 
head,  and  he  seemed  more  proud  of  it.  Indeed,  it  was 
the  only  occasion  in  which  I  saw  in  him  the  slightest 
elevation  of  feeling.  I  made  a  comment  upon  the  ex- 
cellence of  the  handwriting,  and  with  his  good  wishes 
for  my  safe  arrival  in  the  North  and  speedy  return  to 
Guatimala,!  took  my  leave.  Now  I  do  not  believe,  if 
he  knew  what  I  say  of  him,  that  he  would  give  me  a 
very  cordial  welcome  ;  but  I  believe  him  honest,  and  if 
he  knew  how,  and  could  curb  his  passions,  he  would  do 
more  good  for  Central  America  than  any  other  man 
in  it. 

I  was  now  fortified  with  the  best  security  we  could 
have  for  our  journey.  We  passed  the  evening  in  wri- 
ting letters  and  packing  up  things  to  be  sent  home 
(among  which  was  my  diplomatic  coat),  and  on  the  sev- 
enth of  April  we  rose  to  set  out.  The  first  movement 
was  to  take  down  our  beds.  Every  man  in  that  coun- 
try has  a  small  cot  called  a  cartaret,  made  to  double 
with  a  hinge,  which  may  be  taken  down  and  wrap- 
ped up,  with  pillows  and  bedclothes,  in  an  oxhide, 
to  carry  on  a  journey.  Our  great  object  was  to  trav- 
el lightly.  Every  additional  mule  and  servant  gave 
additional  trouble,  but  we  could  not  do  with  less  than  a 
cargo-mule  apiece.  Each  of  us  had  two  petacas,  trunks 


made  of  oxhide  lined  with  thin  straw  matting,  having  a 
top  like  that  of  a  box,  secured  by  a  clumsy  iron  chain  with 
large  padlocks,  containing,  besides  other  things,  a  ham- 
mock, blanket,  one  pair  of  sheets,  and  pillow,  which, 
with  alforgas  of  provisions,  made  one  load  apiece. 
We  carried  one  cartaret,  in  case  of  sickness.  We  had 
one  spare  cargo-mule ;  the  gray  mule  with  which  I  had 
ascended  the  Volcano  of  Cartago  and  my  macho  for  Mr. 
Catherwood  and  myself,  and  a  horse  for  relief,  in  all  six 
animals ;  and  two  mozos,  or  men  of  all  work,  untried. 
While  in  the  act  of  mounting,  Don  Saturnine  Tinoca, 
my  companion  from  Zonzonate,  rode  into  the  yard,  to 
accompany  us  two  days  on  our  journey.  We  bade 
farewell  to  Mr.  Savage,  my  first,  last,  and  best  friend, 
and  in  a  few  minutes,  with  a  mingled  feeling  of  regret 
and  satisfaction,  left  for  the  last  time  the  barrier  of  Gua- 

Don  Saturnine  was  most  welcome  to  our  party.  His 
purpose  was  to  visit  two  brothers  of  his  wife,  curas, 
whom  he  had  never  seen,  and  who  lived  at  Santiago 
Atitan,  two  or  three  days'  journey  distant.  His  father 
was  the  last  governor  of  Nicaragua  under  the  royal  rule, 
with  a  large  estate,  which  was  confiscated  at  the  time 
of  the  revolution ;  he  still  had  a  large  hacienda  there, 
had  brought  up  a  stock  of  mules  to  sell  at  San  Salvador, 
and  intended  to  lay  out  the  proceeds  in  goods  in  Gua- 
timala.  He  was  about  forty,  tall,  and  as  thin  as  a  man 
could  be  to  have  activity  and  vigour,  wore  a  round- 
about jacket  and  trousers  of  dark  olive  cloth,  large  pis- 
tols in  his  holsters,  and  a  long  sword  with  a  leather 
scabbard,  worn  at  the  point,  leaving  about  an  inch  of 
steel  naked.  He  sat  his  mule  as  stiff  as  if  he  had  swal- 
lowed his  own  sword,  holding  the  reins  in  his  right 
hand,  with  his  left  arm  crooked  from  the  elbow,  stand- 

A     DON     QUIXOTE.  141 

ing  out  like  a  pump-handle,  the  hand  dropping  from  the 
wrist,  and  shaking  with  the  movement  of  the  mule, 
He  rode  on  a  Mexican  saddle  plated  with  silver,  and 
carried  behind  a  pair  of  alforgas  with  bread  and  cheese, 
and  atole,  a  composition  of  pounded  parched  corn, 
cocoa,  and  sugar,  which,  mixed  with  water,  was  al- 
most his  living.  His  mozo  was  as  fat  as  he  was 
lean,  and  wore  a  bell-crowned  straw  hat,  cotton  shirt, 
and  drawers  reaching  down  to  his  knees.  Excepting 
that  instead  of  Rosinante  and  the  ass  the  master  rode  a 
mule  and  the  servant  went  afoot,  they  were  a  genuine 
Don  Quixote  and  Sancho  Panza,  the  former  of  which 
appellations,  very  early  in  our  acquaintance,  we  gave 
to  Don  Saturnine. 

We  set  out  for  Quezaltenango,  but  intended  to  turn 
aside  and  visit  ruins,  and  that  day  we  went  three  leagues 
out  of  our  road  to  say  farewell  to  our  friend  Padre  Al- 
cantra  al  Ciudad  Vieja. 

At  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  we  reached  the  con- 
vent, where  I  had  the  pleasure  of  meeting  again  Padre 
Alcantra,  Senor  Vidaury,  and  Don  Pepe,  the  same 
party  with  whom  I  had  passed  the  day  with  so  much 
satisfaction  before.  Mr.  Catherwood  had  in  the  mean 
time  passed  a  month  at  the  convent.  Padre  Alcantra 
had  fled  at  the  approach  of  the  tyrant  Morazan  ;  Don 
Pepe  had  had  a  shot  at  him  as  he  was  retreating  from 
the  Antigua,  and  the  padre  had  a  musket  left  at  night 
by  a  flying  soldier  against  the  wall  of  the  convent. 

The  morning  opened  with  troubles.  The  gray  mule 
was  sick.  Don  Saturnine  bled  her  on  both  sides  of  her 
neck,  but  the  poor  animal  was  not  in  a  condition  to  be 
ridden.  Shortly  afterward  Mr.  Catherwood  had  one  of 
the  mozos  by  the  throat,  but  Padre  Alcantra  patched  up 
a  peace.  Don  Saturnine  said  that  the  gray  mule  would 


be  better  for  exercise,  and  for  the  last  time  we  bade 
farewell  to  our  kind  host. 

Don  PepS  escorted  us,  and  crossing  the  plain  of  El 
Vieja  in  the  direction  in  which  Alvarado  entered  it, 
we  ascended  a  high  hill,  and,  turning  the  summit, 
through  a  narrow  opening  looked  down  upon  a  beau- 
tiful plain,  cultivated  like  a  garden,  which  opened  to 
the  left  as  we  advanced,  and  ran  off  to  the  Lake  of 
Duenos,  between  the  two  great  volcanoes  of  Fire  and 
Water.  Descending  to  the  plain,  we  entered  the  vil- 
lage of  San  Antonio,  occupied  entirely  by  Indians. 
The  cura's  house  stood  on  an  open  plaza,  with  a  fine 
fountain  in  front,  and  the  huts  of  the  Indians  were  built 
with  stalks  of  sugarcane.  Early  in  the  occupation  of 
Guatimala,  the  lands  around  the  capital  were  parti- 
tioned out  among  certain  canonigos,  and  Indians  were 
allotted  to  cultivate  them.  Each  village  was  called  by 
the  canonigo's  own  name.  A  church  was  built,  and  a 
fine  house  for  himself,  and  by  judicious  management 
the  Indians  became  settled  and  the  artisans  for  the  cap- 
ital. In  the  stillness  and  quiet  of  the  village,  it  seemed 
as  if  the  mountains  and  volcanoes  around  had  shielded 
it  from  the  devastation  and  alarm  of  war.  Passing 
through  it,  on  the  other  side  of  the  plain  we  com- 
menced ascending  a  mountain.  About  half  way  up, 
looking  back  over  the  village  and  plain,  we  saw  a  sin- 
gle white  line  over  the  mountain  we  had  crossed  to  the 
Ciudad  Vieja,  and  the  range  of  the  eye  embraced  the 
plain  and  lake  at  our  feet,  the  great  plain  of  Escuintla, 
the  two  volcanoes  of  Agua  and  Fuego,  extending  to 
the  Pacific  Ocean.  The  road  was  very  steep,  and  our 
mules  laboured.  On  the  other  side  of  the  mountain  the 
road  lay  for  some  distance  between  shrubs  and  small 
trees,  emerging  from  which  we  saw  an  immense  plain, 


broken  by  the  track  of  the  direct  road  from  Guatimala, 
and  afar  off  the  spires  of  the  town  of  Chimaltenango. 
At  the  foot  of  the  mountain  we  reached  the  village  of 
Paramos.  We  had  been  three  hours  and  a  half  making 
six  miles.  Don  Pepe  summoned  the  alcalde,  showed 
him  Carrera's  passport,  and  demanded  a  guide  to  the 
next  village.  The  alcalde  called  his»alguazils,  and 
in  a  very  few  minutes  a  guide  was  ready.  Don  Pepe 
told  us  that  he  left  us  in  Europa,  and  with  many 
thanks  we  bade  him  farewell. 

We  were  now  entering  upon  a  region  of  country  which, 
at  the  time  of  the  conquest,  was  the  most  populous,  the 
most  civilized,  and  best  cultivated  in  Guatimala.  The 
people  who  occupied  it  were  the  descendants  of  those 
found  there  by  Alvarado,  and  perhaps  four  fifths  were  In- 
dians of  untainted  blood.  For  three  centuries  they  had 
submitted  quietly  to  the  dominion  of  the  whites,  but  the 
rising  of  Carrera  had  waked  them  up  to  a  recollection  of 
their  fathers,  and  it  was  rumoured  that  their  eyes  rolled 
strangely  upon  the  white  men  as  the  enemies  of  their 
race.  For  the  first  time  we  saw  fields  of  wheat  and 
peach-trees.  The  country  was  poetically  called  Euro- 
pa  ;  and  though  the  Volcano  de  Agua  still  reared  in  full 
sight  its  stupendous  head,  it  resembled  the  finest  part  of 
England  on  a  magnificent  scale. 

But  it  was  not  like  travelling  in  England.  The 
young  man  with  whose  throat  Mr.  Catherwood  had 
been  so  familiar  loitered  behind  with  the  sick  mule  and 
a  gun.  He  had  started  from  Ciudad  Vieja  with  a 
drawn  knife  in  his  hand,  the  blade  about  a  foot  and  a 
half  long,  and  we  made  up  our  minds  to  get  rid  of  him  ; 
but  we  feared  that  he  had  anticipated  us,  and  had  gone 
off  with  the  mule  and  gun.  We  waited  till  he  came  up, 
relieved  him  from  the  gun,  and  made  him  go  forward, 


while  we  drove  the  mule.  At  the  distance  of  two 
leagues  we  reached  the  Indian  village  of  San  Andres 
Isapa.  Don  Saturnino  flourished  Carrera's  passport,  in- 
troduced me  as  El  Ministro  de  Nueva-York,  demanded 
a  guide,  and  in  a  few  minutes  an  alguazil  was  trotting 
before  us  for  the  next  village.  At  this  village,  on  the 
same  requisition,  the  alcalde  ran  out  to  look  for  an  al- 
guazil, but  could  not  find  one  immediately,  and  ven- 
tured to  beg  Don  Saturnino  to  wait  a  moment.  Don 
Saturnino  told  him  he  must  go  himself ;  Carrera  would 
cut  off  his  head  if  he  did  not ;  "  the  minister  of  New- 
York"  could  not  be  kept  waiting.  Don  Saturnino,  like 
many  others  of  my  friends  in  that  country,  had  no  very 
definite  notions  in  regard  to  titles  or  places.  A  man 
happened  to  be  passing,  whom  the  alcalde  pressed  into 
service,  and  he  trotted  on  before  with  the  halter  of  the 
led  horse.  Don  Saturnino  hurried  him  along ;  as  we 
approached  the  next  village  Carrera's  soldiers  were  in 
sight,  returning  on  the  direct  road  to  Guatimala,  fresh 
from  the  slaughter  at  Quezaltenango.  Don  Saturnino 
told  the  guide  that  he  must  avoid  the  plaza  and  go  on 
to  the  next  village.  The  guide  begged,  and  Don  Sat- 
urnino rode  up,  drew  his  sword,  and  threatened  to  cut 
his  head  off.  The  poor  fellow  trotted  on,  with  his  eye 
fixed  on  the  uplifted  sword ;  and  when  Don  Saturnino 
turned  to  me  with  an  Uncle  Toby  expression  of  face, 
he  threw  down  the  halter,  leaped  over  a  hedge  fence, 
and  ran  toward  the  town.  Don  Saturnino,  not  discon- 
certed, caught  up  the  halter,  and,  spurring  his  mule, 
pushed  on.  The  road  lay  on  a  magnificent  table-land, 
in  some  places  having  trees  on  each  side  for  a  great 
distance.  Beyond  this  we  had  a  heavy  rain-storm, 
and  late  in  the  afternoon  reached  the  brink  of  an  im- 
mense precipice,  in  which,  at  a  great  distance,  we 

A     MOLINA.  145 

saw  the  molina  or  wheat-mill,  looking  like  a  New- 
England  factory.  The  descent  was  very  steep  and 
muddy,  winding  in  places  close  along  the  precipitous 
side  of  the  ravine.  Great  care  was  necessary  with  the 
mules ;  their  tendency  was  to  descend  sidewise,  which 
was  very  dangerous ;  but  in  the  steepest  places,  by 
keeping  their  heads  straight,  they  would  slip  in  the  mud 
several  paces,  bracing  their  feet  and  without  falling. 

At  dark,  wet  and  muddy,  and  in  the  midst  of  a 
heavy  rain,  we  reached  the  molina.  The  major-domo 
was  a  Costa  Rican,  a  countryman  of  Don  Saturnino, 
and,  fortunately,  we  had  a  room  to  ourselves,  though  it 
was  damp  and  chilly.  Here  we  learned  that  Tecpan 
Guatimala,  one  of  the  ruined  cities  we  wished  to  visit, 
was  but  three  leagues  distant,  and  the  major-domo  of- 
fered to  go  with  us  in  the  morning. 

VOL.  II.— T  13 



..ourney  continued.— Barrancas.— Tecpan  Guatimala.— A  noble  Church.— A  sa- 
cred Stone. — The  ancient  City. — Description  of  the  Ruins. — A  Molina. — Anoth- 
er Earthquake — Patzum.— A  Ravine. — Fortifications. — Los  Altos.  —  Godines. 
— Losing  a  good  Friend. — Magnificent  Scenery. — San  Antonio. — Lake  of  Ati- 

IN  the  morning  the  major-domo  furnished  us  with  fine 
horses,  and  we  started  early.  Almost  immediately  we 
commenced  ascending  the  other  side  of  the  ravine 
which  we  had  descended  the  night  before,  and  on  the  top 
entered  on  a  continuation  of  the  same  beautiful  and  ex- 
tensive table-land.  On  one  side,  for  some  distance,  were 
high  hedge  fences,'  in  which  aloes  were  growing,  and  in 
one  place  were  four  in  full  bloom.  In  an  hour  we  arri- 
ved at  Patzum,  a  large  Indian  village.  Here  we  turned 
off  to  the  right  from  the  high  road  to  Mexico  by  a  sort  of 
by-path ;  but  the  country  was  beautiful,  and  in  parts 
well  cultivated.  The  morning  was  bracing,  and  the 
climate  like  our  own  in  October.  The  immense  table- 
land was  elevated  some  five  or  six  thousand  feet,  but 
none  of  these  heights  have  ever  been  taken.  We  pass- 
ed on  the  right  two  mounds,  such  as  are  seen  all  over 
our  own  country,  and  on  the  left  an  immense  barranca. 
The  table  was  level  to  the  very  edge,  where  the  earth 
seemed  to  have  broken  off  and  sunk,  and  we  looked 
down  into  a  frightful  abyss  two  or  three  thousand  feet 
deep.  Gigantic  trees  at  the  bottom  of  the  immense 
cavity  looked  like  shrubs.  At  some  distance  beyond 
we  passed  a  second  of  these  immense  barrancas,  and  in 
an  hour  and  a  half  reached  the  Indian  village  of  Tec- 


pan  Guatimala.  For  some  distance  before  reaching  it 
the  road  was  shaded  by  trees  and  shrubs,  among  which 
were  aloes  thirty  feet  high.  The  long  street  by  which 
we  entered  was  paved  with  stones  from  the  ruins  of  the 
old  city,  and  filled  with  drunken  Indians  ;  and  rushing 
across  it  was  one  with  his  arms  around  a  woman's  neck. 
At  the  head  of  this  street  was  a  fine  plaza,  with  a  large 
cabildo,  and  twenty  or  thirty  Indian  alguazils  under  the 
corridor,  with  wands  of  office  in  their  hands,  silent,  in 
full  suits  of  blue  cloth,  the  trousers  open  at  the  knees, 
and  cloak  with  a  hood  like  the  Arab  burnouse.  Ad- 
joining this  was  the  large  courtyard  of  the  church, 
paved  with  stone,  and  the  church  itself  was  one  of  the 
most  magnificent  in  the  country.  It  was  the  second 
built  after  the  conquest.  The  facade  was  two  hundred 
feet,  very  lofty,  with  turrets  and  spires  gorgeously  or- 
namented with  stuccoed  figures,  and  a  high  platform,  on 
which  were  Indians,  the  first  we  had  seen  in  picturesque 
costume ;  and  with  the  widely-extended  view  of  the 
country  around,  it  was  a  scene  of  wild  magnificence  in 
nature  and  in  art.  We  stopped  involuntarily;  and 
while  the  Indians,  in  mute  astonishment,  gazed  at  us,  we 
were  lost  in  surprise  and  admiration.  As  usual,  Don 
Saturnino  was  the  pioneer,  and  we  rode  up  to  the  house 
of  the  padre,  where  we  were  shown  into  a  small  room, 
with  the  window  closed  and  a  ray  of  light  admitted 
from  the  door,  in  which  the  padre  was  dozing  in  a 
large  chair.  Before  he  had  fairly  opened  his  eyes,  Don 
Saturnino  told  him  that  we  had  come  to  visit  the  ruins 
of  the  old  city,  and  wanted  a  guide,  and  thrust  into  his 
hands  Carrera's  passport  and  the  letter  of  the  provesor. 
The  padre  was  old,  fat,  rich,  and  infirm,  had  been  thirty- 
five  years  cura  of  Tecpan  Guatimala,  and  was  not  used 
to  doing  things  in  a  hurry  ;  but  our  friend,  knowing  the 


particular  objects  of  our  visit,  with  great  earnestness  and 
haste  told  the  padre  that  the  minister  of  New- York 
had  heard  in  his  country  of  a  remarkable  stone,  and  the 
provesor  and  Carrera  were  anxious  for  him  to  see  it. 
The  padre  said  that  it  was  in  the  church,  and  lay  on 
the  top  of  the  grand  altar ;  the  cup  of  the  sacrament 
stood  upon  it ;  it  was  covered  up,  and  very  sacred  ;  he 
had  never  seen  it,  and  he  was  evidently  unwilling  to 
let  us  see  it,  but  said  he  would  endeavour  to  do  so 
when  we  returned  from  the  ruins.  He  sent  for  a  guide, 
and  we  went  out  to  the  courtyard  of  the  church  ;  and 
while  Mr.  Catherwood  was  attempting  a  sketch,  I  walk- 
ed up  the  steps.  The  interior  was  lofty,  spacious,  rich- 
ly ornamented  with  stuccoed  figures  and  paintings,  dark 
and  solemn,  and  in  the  distance  was  the  grand  altar, 
with  long  wax  candles  burning  upon  it,  and  Indians 
kneeling  before  it.  At  the  door  a  man  stopped  me,  and 
said  that  I  must  not  enter  with  sword  and  spurs,  and 
even  that  I  must  take  off  my  boots.  I  would  have 
done  so,  but  saw  that  the  Indians  did  not  like  a  stran- 
ger going  into  their  church.  They  were  evidently  en- 
tirely unaccustomed  to  the  sight  of  strangers,  and  Mr. 
Catherwood  was  so  annoyed  by  their  gathering  round 
him  that  he  gave  up  his  drawing ;  and  fearing  it  would 
be  worse  on  our  return,  I  told  Don  Saturnino  that  we 
must  make  an  effort  to  see  the  stone  now.  Don  Satur- 
nino had  a  great  respect  for  the  priests  and  the  Church. 
He  was  not  a  fanatic,  but  he  thought  a  powerful  reli- 
gious influence  good  for  the  Indians.  Nevertheless,  he 
said  we  ought  to  see  it ;  and  we  went  back  in  a  body 
to  the  padre,  and  Don  Saturnino  told  him  that  we  were 
anxious  to  see  the  stone  now,  to  prevent  delay  on  our 
return.  The  good  padre's  heavy  body  was  troubled. 
He  asked  for  the  provesor's  letter  again,  read  it  over, 

A     SACRED     STONE.  149 

went  out  on  the  corridor  and  consulted  with  a  brother 
about  as  old  and  round  as  himself,  and  at  length  told  us 
to  wait  in  that  room  and  he  would  bring  it.  As  he  went 
out  he  ordered  all  the  Indians  in  the  courtyard,  about 
forty  or  fifty,  to  go  to  the  cabildo  and  tell  the  alcalde  to 
send  the  guide.  In  a  few  minutes  he  returned,  and 
opening  with  some  trepidation  the  folds  of  his  large 
gown,  produced  the  stone. 

Fuentes,  in  speaking  of  the  old  city,  says,  "  To  the 
westward  of  the  city  there  is  a  little  mount  that  com- 
mands it,  on  which  stands  a  small  round  building  about 
six  feet  in  height,  in  the  middle  of  which  there  is  a  ped- 
estal formed  of  a  shining  substance  resembling  glass, 
but  the  precise  quality  of  which  has  not  been  ascertain- 
ed. Seated  around  this  building,  the  judges  heard  and 
decided  the  causes  brought  before  them,  and  their  sen- 
tences were  executed  upon  the  spot.  Previous  to  exe- 
cuting them,  however,  it  was  necessary  to  have  them 
confirmed  by  the  oracle,  for  which  purpose  three  of 
the  judges  left  their  seats  and  proceeded  to  a  deep  ra- 
vine, where  there  was  a  place  of  worship  containing  a 
black  transparent  stone,  on  the  surface  of  which  the 
Deity  was  supposed  to  indicate  the  fate  of  the  criminal. 
If  the  decision  was  approved,  the  sentence  was  execu- 
ted immediately ;  if  nothing  appeared  on  the  stone,  the 
accused  was  set  at  liberty.  This  oracle  was  also  con- 
sulted in  the  affairs  of  war.  The  Bishop  Francisco 
Marroquin  having  obtained  intelligence  of  this  slab, 
ordered  it  to  be  cut  square,  and  consecrated  it  for  the 
top  of  the  grand  altar  in  the  Church  of  Tecpan  Guati- 
mala.  It  is  a  stone  of  singular  beauty,  about  a  yard 
and  a  half  each  way."  The  "  Modern  Traveller"  re- 
fers to  it  as  an  "  interesting  specimen  of  ancient  art ;" 
and  in  1825  concludes,  "  we  may  hope,  before  long,  to 

150  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAYEL. 

receive  some   more   distinct   account  of  this  oracular 

The  world — meaning  thereby  the  two  classes  into 
which  an  author  once  divided  it,  of  subscribers  and 
non-subscribers  to  his  work — the  world  that  reads  these 
pages  is  indebted  to  Don  Saturnino  for  some  additional 
information.  The  stone  was  sewed  up  in  a  piece  of 
cotton  cloth  drawn  tight,  which  looked  certainly  as  old  as 
the  thirty-five  years  it  had  been  under  the  cura's  charge, 
and  probably  was  the  same  covering  in  which  it  was 
enveloped  when  first  laid  on  the  top  of  the  altar.  One 
or  two  stitches  were  cut  in  the  middle,  and  this  was 
perhaps  all  we  should  have  seen ;  but  Don  Saturnino, 
with  a  hurried  jargon  of  "  strange,  curious,  sacred,  in- 
comprehensible, the  provesor's  letter,  minister  of  New- 
York,"  &c.,  whipped  out  his  penknife,  and  the  good 
old  padre,  heavy  •with  agitation  and  his  own  weight, 
sunk  into  his  chair,  still  holding  on  with  both  hands. 
Don  Saturnino  ripped  till  he  almost  cut  the  good  old 
man's  fingers,  slipped  out  the  sacred  tablet,  and  left  the 
sack  in  the  padre's  hands.  The  padre  sat  a  picture  of 
self-abandonment,  helplessness,  distress,  and  self-re- 
proach. We  moved  toward  the  light,  and  Don  Satur- 
nino, with  a  twinkle  of  his  eyes  and  a  ludicrous  earnest- 
ness, consummated  the  padre's  fear  and  horror  by 
scratching  the  sacred  stone  with  his  knife.  This  orac- 
ular slab  is  a  piece  of  common  slate,  fourteen  inches  by 
ten,  and  about  as  thick  as  those  used  by  boys  at  school, 
without  characters  of  any  kind  upon  it.  With  a  strong 
predilection  for  the  marvellous,  and  scratching  it  most 
irreverently,  we  could  make  nothing  more  out  of  it.  Don 
Saturnino  handed  it  back  to  the  padre,  and  told  him 
that  he  had  better  sew  it  up  and  put  it  back ;  and  prob- 
ably it  is  now  in  its  place  on  the  top  of  the  grand  altar, 

THE     ANCIENT     CITY.  151 

with  the  sacramental  cup  upon  it,  an  object  of  venera- 
tion to  the  fanatic  Indians. 

But  the  agitation  of  the  padre  destroyed  whatever 
there  was  of  comic  in  the  scene.  Recovering  from  the 
shock,  he  told  us  not  to  go  back  through  the  town ;  that 
there  was  a  road  direct  to  the  old  city ;  and  concealing 
the  tablet  under  his  gown,  he  walked  out  with  a  firm 
step,  and  in  a  strong,  unbroken  voice,  rapidly,  in  their 
own  unintelligible  dialect,  called  to  the  Indians  to  bring 
up  our  horses,  and  directed  the  guide  to  put  us  in  the 
road  which  led  direct  to  the  molina.  He  feared  that  the 
Indians  might  discover  our  sacrilegious  act ;  and  as  we 
looked  in  their  stupid  faces,  we  were  well  satisfied  to 
get  away  before  any  such  discovery  was  made,  rejoicing 
more  than  the  padre  that  we  could  get  back  to  the  mo- 
lina without  returning  through  the  town. 

We  had  but  to  mount  and  ride.  At  the  distance  of 
a  mile  and  a  half  we  reached  the  bank  of  an  immense 
ravine.  We  descended  it,  Don  Saturnine  leading  the 
way ;  and  at  the  foot,  on  the  other  side,  he  stopped  at 
a  narrow  passage,  barely  wide  enough  for  the  mule  to 
pass.  This  was  the  entrance  to  the  old  city.  It  was 
a  winding  passage  cut  in  the  side  of  the  ravine,  twenty 
or  thirty  feet  deep,  and  not  wide  enough  for  two  horse- 
men to  ride  abreast ;  and  this  continued  to  the  high  table 
of  land  on  which  stood  the  ancient  city  of  Patinamit. 

This  city  flourished  with  the  once  powerful  kingdom 
of  the  Kachiquel  Indians.  Its  name,  in  their  language, 
means  "  the  city."  It  was  also  called  Tecpan  Guati- 
mala,  which,  according  to  Vasques,  means  "  the  Royal 
House  of  Guatimala,"  and  he  infers  that  it  was  the  cap- 
ital of  the  Kachiquel  kings ;  but  Fuentes  supposes  that 
Tecpan  Guatimala  was  the  arsenal  of  the  kingdom,  and 
not  the  royal  residence,  which  honour  belonged  to  Gua- 


timala,  and  that  the  former  was  so  called  from  its  situa- 
tion on  an  eminence  with  respect  to  the  latter,  the  word 
Tecpan  meaning  "  above." 

According  to  Fuentes,  Patinamit  was  seated  on  an 
eminence,  and  surrounded  by  a  deep  defile  or  natural 
fosse,  the  perpendicular  height  of  which,  from  the  level 
of  the  city,  was  more  than  one  hundred  fathoms.  The 
only  entrance  was  by  a  narrow  causeway  terminated 
by  two  gates,  constructed  of  the  chay  stone,  one  on  the 
exterior  and  the  other  on  the  interior  wall  of  the  city. 
The  plane  of  this  eminence  extends  about  three  miles 
in  length  from  north  to  south,  and  about  two  in  breadth 
from  east  to  west.  The  soil  is  covered  with  a  stiff  clay 
about  three  quarters  of  a  yard  deep.  On  one  side  of 
the  area  are  the  remains  of  a  magnificent  building,  per- 
fectly square,  each  side  measuring  one  hundred  paces, 
constructed  of  hewn  stones  extremely  well  put  together ; 
in  front  of  the  building  is  a  large  square,  on  one  side  of 
which  stand  the  ruins  of  a  sumptuous  palace,  and  near 
to  it  are  the  foundations  of  several  houses.  A  trench 
three  yards  deep  runs  from  north  to  south  through  the 
eity,  having  a  breastwork  of  masonry  rising  about  a 
yard  high.  On  the  eastern  side  of  this  trench  stood  the 
houses  of  the  nobles,  and  on  the  opposite  side  the  houses 
of  the  maseguales  or  commoners.  The  streets  were,  as 
may  still  be  seen,  straight  and  spacious,  crossing  each 
other  at  right  angles. 

When  we  rose  upon  the  table,  for  some  distance  it 
bore  no  marks  of  ever  having  been  a  city.  Very  soon 
we  came  upon  an  Indian  burning  down  trees  and  pre- 
paring a  piece  of  ground  for  planting  corn.  Don  Sat- 
urnino  asked  him  to  go  with  us  and  show  us  the  ruins, 
but  he  refused.  Soon  after  we  reached  a  hut,  outside 
of  which  a  woman  was  washing.  We  asked  her  to  ac- 


company  us,  but  she  ran  into  the  hut.  Beyond  this  we 
reached  a  wall  of  stones,  but  broken  and  confused.  We 
tied  our  horses  in  the  shade  of  trees,  and  commenced  ex- 
ploring on  foot.  The  ground  was  covered  with  mounds 
of  ruins.  In  one  place  we  saw  the  foundations  of  two 
houses,  one  of  them  about  a  hundred  feet  long  by  fifty 
feet  broad.  It  was  one  hundred  and  forty  years  since 
Fuentes  published  the  account  of  his  visit ;  during  that 
time  the  Indians  had  carried  away  on  their  backs  stones 
to  build  up  the  modern  village  of  Tecpan  Guatimala, 
and  the  hand  of  ruin  had  been  busily  at  work.  We  in- 
quired particularly  for  sculptured  figures ;  our  guide 
knew  of  two,  and  after  considerable  search  brought  us 
to  them.  They  were  lying  on  the  ground,  about  three 
feet  long,  so  worn  that  we  could  not  make  them  out, 
though  on  one  the  eyes  and  nose  of  an  animal  were 
distinguishable.  The  position  commanded  an  almost 
boundless  view,  and  it  is  surrounded  by  an  immense  ra- 
vine, which  warrants  the  description  given  of  it  by  Fu- 
entes. In  some  places  it  was  frightful  to  look  down 
into  its  depths.  On  every  side  it  was  inaccessible,  and 
the  only  way  of  reaching  it  was  by  the  narrow  passage 
through  which  we  entered,  its  desolation  and  ruin  add- 
ing another  page  to  the  burdened  record  of  human  con- 
tentions, and  proving  that,  as  in  the  world  whose  his- 
tory we  know,  so  in  this  of  whose  history  we  are  igno- 
rant, man's  hand  has  been  against  his  fellow.  The  sol- 
itary Indian  hut  is  all  that  now  occupies  the  site  of  the 
ancient  city ;  but  on  Good  Friday  of  every  year  a  sol- 
emn procession  of  the  whole  Indian  population  is  made 
to  it  from  the  village  of  Tecpan  Guatimala,  and,  as  our 
guide  told  us,  on  that  day  bells  are  heard  sounding  un- 
der the  earth. 

.  Descending  by  the  same  narrow  passage,  we  trav- 
VOL.  II.—U   ' 


ersed  the  ravine  and  ascended  on  the  other  side.  Our 
guide  put  us  into  the  road  that  avoided  the  town,  and 
we  set  off  on  a  gallop. 

Don  Saturnine  possessed  the  extremes  of  good  tem- 
per, simplicity,  uprightness,  intelligence,  and  perseve- 
rance. Ever  since  I  fell  in  with  him  he  had  been  most 
useful,  but  this  day  he  surpassed  himself;  and  he  was 
so  well  satisfied  with  us  as  to  declare  that  if  it  were  not 
for  his  wife  in  Costa  Rica,  he  would  bear  us  company  to 
Palenque.  He  had  an  engagement  in  Guatemala  on  a 
particular  day ;  every  day  that  he  lost  with  us  was  so 
much  deducted  from  his  visit  to  his  relatives ;  and  at 
his  earnest  request  we  had  consented  to  pass  a  day  with 
them,  though  a  little  out  of  our  road.  We  reached  the 
molina  in  time  to  walk  over  the  mill.  On  the  side  of  the 
hill  above  was  a  large  building  to  receive  grain,  and  be- 
low it  an  immense  reservoir  for  water  in  the  dry  season, 
but  which  did  not  answer  the  purpose  intended.  The 
mill  had  seven  sets  of  grindstones,  and  working  night 
and  day,  ground  from  seventy  to  ninety  negases  of  wheat 
in  the  twenty-four  hours,  each  negas  being  six  arobas  of 
twenty-five  pounds.  The  Indians  bring  the  wheat,  and 
each  one  takes  a  stone  and  does  his  own  grinding,  pay- 
ing a  rial,  twelve  and  a  half  cents,  per  negas  for  the 
use  of  the  mill.  Flour  is  worth  about  from  three  dol- 
lars and  a  half  to  four  dollars  the  barrel. 

Don  Saturnino  was  one  of  the  best  men  that  ever  lived, 
but  in  undress  there  was  a  lankness  about  him  that  was 
ludicrous.  In  the  evening,  as  he  sat  on  the  bed  with  his 
thin  arms  wound  around  his  thin  legs,  and  we  reproved 
him  for  his  sacrilegious  act  in  cutting  open  the  cotton 
cloth,  his  little  eyes  twinkled,  and  Mr.  C.  and  I  laughed 
as  we  had  not  before  laughed  in  Central  America. 

But  in  that  country  one  extreme  followed  close  upon 


another.  At  midnight  we  were  roused  from  sleep  by 
that  movement  which,  once  felt,  can  never  be  mistaken. 
The  building  rocked,  our  men  in  the  corridor  cried  out 
"  temblor,"  and  Mr.  C.  and  I  at  the  same  moment  ex- 
claimed "  an  earthquake  !"  Our  cartarets  stood  trans- 
versely. By  the  undulating  movement  of  the  earth  he 
was  rolled  from  side  to  side,  and  I  from  head  to  foot. 
The  sinking  of  my  head  induced  an  awful  faintness  of 
heart.  I  sprang  upon  my  feet  and  rushed  to  the  door. 
In  a  moment  the  earth  was  still.  We  sat  on  the  sides 
of  the  bed,  compared  movements  and  sensations,  lay 
down  again,  and  slept  till  morning. 

Early  in  the  morning  we  resumed  our  journey.  Un- 
fortunately, the  gray  mule  was  no  better.  Perhaps  she 
would  recover  in  a  few  days,  but  we  had  no  time  to  wait. 
My  first  mule,  too,  purchased  as  the  price  of  seeing  Don 
Clementino's  sister,  which  had  been  a  most  faithful  an- 
imal, was  drooping.  Don  Saturnine  offered  me  his 
own,  a  strong,  hardy  animal,  in  exchange  for  the  latter, 
and  the  former  I  left  behind,  to  be  sent  back  and  turned 
out  on  the  pasture-grounds  of  Padre  Alcantra.  There 
were  few  trials  greater  in  that  country  than  that  of 
being  obliged  to  leave  on  the  road  these  tried  and  faith- 
ful companions. 

To  Patzum  our  road  was  the  same  as  the  day  before. 
Before  reaching  it  we  had  difficulty  with  the  luggage, 
and  left  at  a  hut  on  the  road  our  only  cartaret.  Leav- 
ing Patzum  on  the  left,  our  road  lay  on  the  high,  level 
table  of  land,  and  at  ten  o'clock  we  came  to  the  brink 
of  a  ravine  three  thousand  feet  deep,  saw  an  immense 
abyss  at  our  feet,  and  opposite,  the  high,  precipitous 
wall  of  the  ravine.  Our  road  lay  across  it.  At  the 
very  commencement  the  descent  was  steep.  As  we  ad- 
vanced the  path  wound  fearfully  along  the  edge  of  the 


precipice,  and  we  met  a  caravan  of  mules  at  a  narrow 
place,  where  there  was  no  room  to  turn  out,  and  we 
were  obliged  to  go  back,  taking  care  to  give  them  the 
outside.  All  the  way  down  we  were  meeting  them ; 
perhaps  more  than  five  hundred  passed  us,  loaded  with 
wheat  for  the  mills  and  cloths  for  Guatimala.  In  meet- 
ing so  many  mules  loaded  with  merchandise,  we  lost 
the  vague  and  indefinite  apprehensions  with  which  we 
had  set  out  on  this  road.  We  were  kept  back  by  them 
more  than  half  an  hour,  and  with  great  labour  reached 
the  bottom  of  the  ravine.  A  stream  ran  through  it ;  for 
some  distance  our  road  lay  in  the  stream,  and  we  cross- 
ed it  thirty  or  forty  times.  The  sides  of  the  ravine  were 
of  an  immense  height.  In  one  place  we  rode  along  a 
perpendicular  wall  of  limestone  rock  smoking  with 
spontaneous  combustion. 

At  twelve  o'clock  we  commenced  ascending  the 
opposite  side.  About  half  way  up  we  met  another 
caravan  of  mules,  with  heavy  boxes  on  their  sides, 
tumbling  down  the  steep  descent.  They  came  upon 
us  so  suddenly  that  our  cargo-mules  got  entangled 
among  them,  turned  around,  and  were  hurried  down 
the  mountain.  Our  men  got  them  disengaged,  and 
we  drew  up  against  the  side.  As  we  ascended,  to- 
ward the  summit,  far  above  us,  were  rude  fortifica- 
tions, commanding  the  road  up  which  we  were  toiling. 
This  was  the  frontier  post  of  Los  Altos,  and  the  posi- 
tion taken  by  General  Guzman  to  repel  the  invasion 
of  Carrera.  It  seemed  certain  death  for  any  body  of 
men  to  advance  against  it ;  but  Carrera  sent  a  detach- 
ment of  Indians,  who  clambered  up  the  ravine  at  an- 
other place,  and  attacked  it  in  the  rear.  The  fortifica- 
tions were  pulled  down  and  burned,  the  boundary  lines 
demolished,  and  Los  Altos  annexed  to  Guatimala.  Here 

LOSING     A     GOOD     FRIEND.  157 

we  met  an  Indian,  who  confirmed  what  the  muleteers 
had  told  us,  that  the  road  to  Santiago  Atitan,  the  place 
of  residence  of  Don  Saturnino's  relatives,  was  five 
leagues,  and  exceedingly  bad,  and,  in  order  to  save 
our  luggage-mules,  we  resolved  to  leave  them  at  the 
village  of  Godines,  about  a  mile  farther  on.  The  vil- 
lage consisted  of  but  three  or  four  huts,  entirely  deso- 
late ;  there  was  not  a  person  in  sight.  We  were  afraid 
to  trust  our  mozos  alone ;  they  might  be  robbed,  or 
they  might  rob  us  themselves ;  besides,  they  had  no- 
thing to  eat.  We  were  about  at  the  head  of  the  Lake 
of  Atitan.  It  was  impossible,  with  the  cargo-mules,  to 
reach  Santiago  Atitan  that  day ;  it  lay  on  the  left  bor- 
der of  the  lake  ;  our  road  was  on  the  right,  and  it 
was  agreed  for  Don  Saturnine  to  go  on  alone,  and  for 
us  to  continue  on  our  direct  road  to  Panachahel,  a  vil- 
lage on  the  right  border  opposite  Atitan,  and  cross  the 
lake  to  pay  our  visit  to  him.  We  were  advised  that 
there  were  canoes  for  this  purpose,  and  bade  fare- 
well to  Don  Saturnino  with  the  confident  expectation 
of  seeing  him  again  the  next  day  at  the  house  of  his 
relatives ;  but  we  never  met  again. 

At  two  o'clock  we  came  out  upon  the  lofty  table  of 
land  bordering  the  Lake  of  Atitan.  In  general  I  have 
forborne  attempting  to  give  any  idea  of  the  magnificent 
scenery  amid  which  we  were  travelling,  but  here  for- 
bearance would  be  a  sin.  From  a  height  of  three  or 
four  thousand  feet  we  looked  down  upon  a  surface  shi- 
ning like  a  sheet  of  molten  silver,  enclosed  by  rocks 
and  mountains  of  every  form,  some  barren,  and  some 
covered  with  verdure,  rising  from  five  hundred  to  five 
thousand  feet  in  height.  Opposite,  down  on  the  borders 
of  the  lake,  and  apparently  inaccessible  by  land,  was  the 
town  of  Santiago  Atitan,  to  which  our  friend  was  wend- 



ing  his  way,  situated  between  two  immense  volcanoes 
eight  or  ten  thousand  feet  high.  Farther  on  was  an- 
other volcano,  and  farther  still  another,  more  lofty  than 
all,  with  its  summit  buried  in  clouds.  There  were  no 
associations  connected  with  this  lake ;  until  lately  we 
did  not  know  it  even  by  name ;  but  we  both  agreed 
that  it  was  the  most  magnificent  spectacle  we  ever  saw. 
We  stopped  and  watched  the  fleecy  clouds  of  vapour 
rising  from  the  bottom,  moving  up  the  mountains  and 
the  sides  of  the  volcanoes.  We  descended  at  first  by 
a  steep  pitch,  and  then  gently  for  about  three  miles 
along  the  precipitous  border  of  the  lake,  leaving  on  our 
right  the  camino  real  and  the  village  of  San  Andres, 
and  suddenly  reached  the  brink  of  the  table-land,  two 
thousand  feet  high.  At  the  foot  was  a  rich  plain  running 
down  to  the  water ;  and  on  the  opposite  side  another 
immense  perpendicular  mountain  side,  rising  to  the  same 
height  with  that  on  which  we  stood.  In  the  middle  of 
the  plane,  buried  in  foliage,  with  the  spire  of  the  church 
barely  visible,  was  the  town  of  Panachahel.  Our  first 
view  of  the  lake  was  the  most  beautiful  we  had  ever 
seen,  but  this  surpassed  it.  All  the  requisites  of  the 
grand  and  beautiful  were  there  ;  gigantic  mountains,  a 
valley  of  poetic  softness,  lake,  and  volcanoes,  and  from 
the  height  on  which  we  stood  a  waterfall  marked  a  sil- 
ver line  down  its  sides.  A  party  of  Indian  men  and 
women  were  moving  in  single  file  from  the  foot  of  the 
mountain  toward  the  village,  and  looked  like  children. 
The  descent  was  steep  and  perpendicular,  and,  reach- 
ing the  plain,  the  view  of  the  mountain-walls  was  sub- 
lime. As  we  advanced  the  plain  formed  a  triangle 
with  its  base  on  the  lake,  the  two  mountain  ranges  con- 
verged to  a  point,  and  communicated  by  a  narrow  de- 
file beyond  with  the  village  of  San  Andres. 

THE     LAKE     OP     ATITAN.  159 

Riding  through  a  thick  forest  of  fruit  and  flower  trees, 
we  entered  the  village,  and  at  three  o'clock  rode  up  to 
the  convent.  The  padre  was  a  young  man,  eura  of  four 
or  five  villages,  rich,  formal,  and  polite ;  but  all  over 
the  world  women  are  better  than  men ;  his  mother 
and  sister  received  us  cordially.  They  were  in  great 
distress  on  account  of  the  outrage  at  Quezaltenango. 
Carrera's  troops  had  passed  through  on  their  return 
to  Guatimala,  and  they  feared  that  the  same  bloody 
scenes  were  to  be  enacted  all  through  the  country. 
Part  of  his  outrages  were  against  the  person  of  a  cura, 
and  this  seemed  to  break  the  only  chain  that  was  sup- 
posed to  keep  him  in  subjection.  Unfortunately,  we 
learned  that  there  was  little  or  no  communication  with 
Santiago  Atitan,  and  no  canoe  on  this  side  of  the  lake. 
Our  only  chance  of  seeing  Don  Saturnine  again  was 
that  he  would  learn  this  fact  at  Atitan,  and  if  there  was 
a  canoe  there,  send  it  for  us.  After  dinner,  with  a  ser- 
vant of  the  house  as  guide,  we  'walked  down  to  the 
lake.  The  path  lay  through  a  tropical  garden.  The 
climate  was  entirely  diiferent  from  the  table-land  above, 
and  productions  which  would  not  grow  there  flourished 
here.  Sapotes,  hocotes,  aguacates,  manzones,  pineap- 
ples, oranges,  and  lemons,  the  best  fruits  of  Central 
America,  grew  in  profusion,  and  aloes  grew  thirty  to 
thirty-five  feet  high,  and  twelve  or  fourteen  inches  thick, 
cultivated  in  rows,  to  be  used  for  thatching  miserable 
Indian  huts.  We  came  down  to  the  lake  at  some  hot 
springs,  so  near  the  edge  that  the  waves  ran  over  the 
spring,  the  former  being  very  hot,  and  the  latter  very 

According  to  Huarros,  "  the  Lake  of  Atitan  is  one  of 
the  most  remarkable  in  the  kingdom.  It  is  about  twen- 
ty-four miles  from  east  to  west,  and  ten  from  north  to 


south,  entirely  surrounded  by  rocks  and  mountains. 
There  is  no  gradation  of  depth  from  its  shores,  and  the 
bottom  has  not  been  found  with  a  line  of  three  hundred 
fathoms.  It  receives  several  rivers,  and  all  the  waters 
that  descend  from  the  mountains,  but  there  is  no  known 
channel  by  which  this  great  body  is  carried  off.  The 
only  fish  caught  in  it  are  crabs,  and  a  species  of  small 
fish  about  the  size  of  the  little  finger.  These  are  in  such 
countless  myriads  that  the  inhabitants  of  the  surrounding 
ten  villages  carry  on  a  considerable  fishing  for  them." 

At  that  hour  of  the  day,  as  we  understood  to  be  the 
case  always  at  that  season  of  the  year,  heavy  clouds 
were  hanging  over  the  mountains  and  volcanoes,  and 
the  lake  was  violently  agitated  by  a  strong  southwest 
wind ;  as  our  guide  said,  la  laguna  esta  mucha  brava. 
Santiago  Atitan  .was  nearly  opposite,  at  a  distance  of 
seven  or  eight  leagues,  and  in  following  the  irregular 
and  mountainous  border  of  the  lake  from  the  point  where 
Don  Saturnino  left  us,  we  doubted  whether  he  could 
reach  it  that  night.  It  was  much  farther  off  than  we 
supposed,  and  with  the  lake  in  such  a  state  of  agitation, 
and  subject,  as  our  guide  told  us,  at  all  times  to  vio- 
lent gusts  of  wind,  we  had  but  little  inclination  to  cross 
it  in  a  canoe.  It  would  have  been  magnificent  to  see 
there  a  tropical  storm,  to  hear  the  thunder  roll  among 
the  mountains,  and  see  the  lightnings  flash  down  into 
the  lake.  We  sat  on  the  shore  till  the  sun  disappeared 
behind  the  mountains  at  the  head  of  the  lake.  Mingled 
with  our  contemplations  of  it  were  thoughts  of  other  and 
far  distant  scenes,  and  at  dark  we  returned  to  the  con- 


LAKE     OF     ATITAN.  161 


Lake  of  Atitan.— Conjectures  as  to  its  Origin,  &c.— A  Sail  on  the  Lake.— A  dan- 
gerous Situation. — A  lofty  Mountain  Range. — Ascent  of  the  Mountains.— Com- 
manding View.— Beautiful  Plain. — An  elevated  Village.— Ride  along  the  Lake. 
— Solola. — Visit  to  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche. — Scenery  on  the  Road. — Barrancas. 
— San  Thomas. — Whipping-posts. — Plain  of  Quiche. — The  Village. — Ruins  of 
Quiche. — Its  History. — Desolate  Scene. — A  facetious  Cura. — Description  of 
the  Ruins. — Plan. — The  Royal  Palace. — The  Place  of  Sacrifice. — An  Image. 
— Two  Heads,  &c. — Destruction  of  the  Palace  recent. — An  Arch. 

EARLY  in  the  morning  we  again  went  down  to  the 
lake.  Not  a  vapour  was  on  the  water,  and  the  top  of 
every  volcano  was  clear  of  clouds.  We  looked  over  to 
Santiago  Atitan,  but  there  was  no  indication  of  a  canoe 
coming  for  us.  We  whiled  away  the  time  in  shooting 
wild  ducks,  but  could  get  only  two  ashore,  which  we 
afterward  found  of  excellent  flavour.  According  to 
the  account  given  by  Huarros,  the  water  of  this  lake  is 
so  cold  that  in  a  few  minutes  it  benumbs  and  SAvells  the 
limbs  of  all  who  bathe  in  it.  But  it  looked  so  inviting 
that  we  determined  to  risk  it,  and  were  not  benumbed, 
nor  were  our  limbs  swollen.  The  inhabitants,  we  were 
told,  bathed  in  it  constantly ;  and  Mr.  C.  remained  a 
long  time  in  the  water,  supported  by  his  life  preserver, 
and  without  taking  any  exercise,  and  was  not  conscious 
of  extreme  coldness.  In  the  utter  ignorance  that  ex- 
ists in  regard  to  the  geography  and  geology  of  that 
country,  it  may  be  that  the  account  of  its  fathomless 
depth,  and  the  absence  of  any  visible  outlet,  is  as  un- 
founded as  that  of  the  coldness  of  its  waters. 

The  Modem  Traveller,  in  referring  to  the  want  of 
specific  information  with  regard  to  its  elevation,  and 
other  circumstances  from  which  to  frame  a  conjecture 
as  to  its  origin,  and  the  probable  communication  of  its 

VOL.  II.— X 

162  INCIDENTS       OF     TRAVEL. 

waters  with  some  other  reservoir,  states  that  the  "  fish 
which  it  contains  are  the  same  as  are  found  in  the  Lake 
of  Amatitan,"  and  asks,  "  May  there  not  be  some  con- 
nexion between  these  lakes,  at  least  the  fathomless  one, 
and  the  Volcan  de  Agua  ?"  We  were  told  that  the  mo- 
hara,  the  fish  for  which  the  Lake  of  Amatitan  is  cele- 
brated in  that  country,  was  not  found  in  the  Lake  of 
Atitan  at  all ;  so  that  on  this  ground  at  least  there  is  no 
reason  to  suppose  a  connexion  between  the  two  lakes. 
In  regard  to  any  connexion  with  the  Volcan  de  Agua, 
if  the  account  of  Torquemada  be  true,  the  deluge  of  wa- 
ter from  that  volcano  was  not  caused  by  an  eruption, 
but  by  an  accumulation  of  water  in  a  cavity  on  the  top, 
and  consequently  the  volcano  has  no  subterraneous  wa- 
ter power.  The  elevation  of  this  lake  has  never  been 
taken,  and  the  whole  of  this  region  of  country  invites 
the  attention  of  the  scientific  traveller. 

While  we  were  dressing,  Juan,  one  of  our  mozos, 
found  a  canoe  along  the  shore.  It  was  an  oblong  "  dug- 
out," awkward  and  rickety,  and  intended  for  only  one 
person  ;  but  the  lake  was  so  smooth  that  a  plank  seem- 
ed sufficient.  We  got  in,  and  Juan  pushed  off  and 
paddled  out.  As  we  moved  away  the  mountainous  bor- 
ders of  the  lake  rose  grandly>before  us  ;  and  I  had  just 
called  Mr.  C.'s  attention  to  a  cascade  opening  upon  us 
from  the  great  height  of  perhaps  three  or  four  thou- 
sand feet,  when  we  were  struck  by  a  flaw,  which 
turned  the  canoe,  and  drove  us  out  into  the  lake. 
The  canoe  was  overloaded,  and  Juan  was  an  unskilful 
paddler.  For  several  minutes  he  pulled,  with  every 
sinew  stretched,  but  could  barely  keep  her  head  straight. 
Mr.  C.  was  in  the  stern,  I  on  my  knees  in  the  bot- 
tom of  the  canoe.  The  loss  of  a  stroke,  or  a  totter- 
ing movement  in  changing  places,  might  swamp  her  ; 


and  if  we  let  her  go  she  would  be  driven  out  into  the 
lake,  and  cast  ashore,  if  at  all,  twenty  or  thirty  miles 
distant,  whence  we  should  have  to  scramble  back  over 
mountains ;  and  there  was  a  worse  danger  than  this, 
for  in  the  afternoon  the  wind  always  came  from  the 
other  side,  and  might  drive  us  back  again  into  the 
middle  of  the  lake.  We  saw  the  people  on  the  shore 
looking  at  us,  and  growing  smaller  every  moment,  but 
they  could  not  help  us.  In  all  our  difficulties  we  had 
none  that  came  upon  us  so  suddenly  and  unexpectedly, 
or  that  seemed  more  threatening.  It  was  hardly  ten 
minutes  since  we  were  standing  quietly  on  the  beach, 
and  if  the  wind  had  continued  five  minutes  longer  I  do 
not  know  what  would  have  become  of  us;  but,  most 
fortunately,  it  lulled.  Juan's  strength  revived  ;  with  a 
great  effort  he  brought  us  under  cover  of  the  high  head- 
land beyond  which  the  wind  first  struck  us,  and  in  a 
few  minutes  we  reached  the  shore. 

We  had  had  enough  of  the  lake  ;  time  was  precious, 
and  we  determined  to  set  out  after  dinner  and  ride  four 
leagues  to  Solola.  We  took  another  mozo,  whom  the 
padre  recommended  as  a  bobon,  or  great  fool.  The  first 
two  were  at  swords'  points,  and  with  such  a  trio  there 
was  not  much  danger  of  combination.  In  loading  the 
mules  they  fell  to  quarrelling,  Bobon  taking  his  share. 
Ever  since  we  left,  Don  Saturnine  had  superintended 
this  operation,  and  without  him  everything  wenl  wrong 
One  mule  slipped  part  of  its  load  in  the  courtyard,  and 
we  made  but  a  sorry  party  for  the  long  journey  we  had 
before  us.  From  the  village  our  road  lay  toward 
the  lake,  to  the  point  of  the  opposite  mountain,  which 
shut  in  the  plain  of  Panachahel.  Here  we  began  to  as- 
cend. For  a  while  the  path  commanded  a  view  of  the 
village  and  plain ;  but  by  degrees  we  diverged  from  it, 

164  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

and  after  an  hour's  ascent  came  out  upon  the  lake, 
rode  a  short  distance  upon  the  brink,  with  another  im- 
mense mountain  range  before  us,  and  breaking  over  the 
top  the  cataract  which  I  had  seen  from  the  canoe. 
Very  soon  we  commenced  ascending  ;  the  path  ran  zig- 
zag, commanding  alternately  a  view  of  the  plain  and 
of  the  lake.  The  ascent  was  terrible  for  loaded  mules, 
being  in  some  places  steps  cut  in  the  stone  like  a  regu- 
lar staircase.  Every  time  we  came  upon  the  lake  there 
was  a  different  view.  At  four  o'clock,  looking  back 
over  the  high  ranges  of  mountains  we  had  crossed,  we 
saw  the  great  volcanoes  of  Agua  and  Fuego.  Six 
volcanoes  were  in  sight  at  once,  four  of  them  above 
ten  thousand,  and  two  nearly  fifteen  thousand  feet  high. 
Looking  down  upon  the  lake  we  saw  a  canoe,  so  small 
as  to  present  a  mere  speck  on  the  water,  and,  as  we 
supposed,  it  was  sent  for  us  by  our  friend  Don  Saturni- 
ne. Four  days  afterward,  after  diverging  and  return- 
ing to  the  main  road,  I  found  a  letter  from  him,  direct- 
ed to  "  El  Ministro  de  Nueva-York,"  stating  that  he 
found  the  road  so  terrible  that  night  overtook  him,  and 
he  was  obliged  to  stop  three  leagues  short  of  Atitan. 
On  arriving  at  that  place  he  learned  that  the  canoe  was 
on  his  side  of  the  lake,  but  the  boatmen  would  not 
cross  till  the  afternoon  wind  sprang  up.  The  letter 
was  written  after  the  return  of  the  canoe,  and  sent 
by  courier  two  days'  journey,  begging  us  to  return, 
and  offering  as  a  bribe  a  noble  mule,  which,  in  our 
bantering  on  the  road,  he  affirmed  was  better  than 
my  macho.  Twice  the  mule-track  led  us  almost  with- 
in the  fall  of  cataracts,  and  the  last  time  we  came 
upon  the  lake  we  looked  down  upon  a  plain  even  more 
beautiful  than  that  of  Panachahel.  Directly  under 
us,  at  an  immense  distance  below,  but  itself  elevated 

SOL  OLA.  165 

fifteen  hundred  or  two  thousand  feet,  was  a  village, 
with  its  church  conspicuous,  and  it  seemed  as  if  we 
could  throw  a  stone  down  upon  its  roof.  From  the 
moment  this  lake  first  opened  upon  us  until  we  left  it, 
our  ride  along  it  presented  a  greater  combination  of 
beauties  than  any  locality  I  ever  saw.  The  last  ascent 
occupied  an  hour  and  three  quarters.  As  old  travel- 
lers, we  would  have  avoided  it  if  there  had  been  any 
other  road  ;  but,  once  over,  we  would  not  have  missed  it 
for  the  world.  Very  soon  we  saw  Solola.  In  the  sub- 
urbs drunken  Indians  stood  in  a  line,  and  took  off  their 
old  petates  (straw  hats)  with  both  hands.  It  was  Sun- 
day, and  the  bells  of  the  church  were  ringing  for  ves- 
pers, rockets  were  firing,  and  a  procession,  headed  by 
violins,  was  parading  round  the  plaza  the  figure  of  a 
saint  on  horseback,  dressed  like  a  harlequin.  Oppo- 
site the  cabildo  the  alcalde,  with  a  crowd  of  Mestitzoes, 
was  fighting  cocks. 

The  town  stands  on  the  lofty  borders  of  the  Lake  of 
Amatitan,  and  a  hundred  yards  from  it  the  whole  water 
was  visible.  I  tied  my  horse  to  the  whipping-post,  and, 
thanks  to  Carrera's  passport,  the  alcalde  sent  off  for  sa- 
cate,  had  a  room  swept  out  in  the  cabildo,  and  offered 
to  send  us  supper  from  his  own  house.  He  was  about 
ten  days  in  office,  having  been  appointed  since  Carrera's 
last  invasion.  Formerly  this  place  was  the  residence  of 
the  youngest  branch  of  the  house  of  the  Kachiquel  In- 

It  was  our  purpose  at  this  place  to  send  our  luggage 
on  by  the  main  road  to  Totonicapan,  one  day's  journey 
beyond,  while  we  struck  off  at  an  angle  and  visited  the 
ruins  of  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche.  The  Indians  of  that 
place,  even  in  the  most  quiet  times,  bore  a  very  bad 
name,  and  we  were  afraid  of  hearing  such  an  account 

166  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

<•£  them  as  would  make  it  impossible  to  go  there.  Car- 
era  had  left  a  garrison  of  soldiers  in  Solola,  and  we 
called  upon  the  commandant,  a  gentlemanly  man,  sus- 
pected of  disaffection  to  Carrera's  government,  and 
therefore  particularly  desirous  to  pay  respect  to  his  pass- 
port, who  told  me  that  there  had  been  less  excitement 
at  that  place  than  in  some  of  the  other  villages,  and 
promised  to  send  the  luggage  on  under  safe  escort  to  the 
corregidor  of  Totonicapan,  and  give  us  a  letter  to  his 
commissionado  in  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche. 

On  our  return  we  learned  that  a  lady  had  sent  for  us. 
Her  house  was  on  the  corner  of  the  plaza.  She  was  a 
chapetone  from  Old  Spain,  which  country  she  had  left 
with  her  husband  thirty  years  before,  on  account  of  wars. 
At  the  time  of  Carrera's  last  invasion  her  son  was  alcalde 
mayor,  and  fled.  t  If  he  had  been  taken  he  would  have 
been  shot.  The  wife  of  her  son  was  with  her.  They 
had  not  heard  from  him,  but  he  had  fled  toward  Mex- 
ico, and  they  supposed  him  to  be  in  the  frontier  town, 
and  wished  us  to  carry  letters  to  him,  and  to  inform  him 
of  their  condition.  Their  house  had  been  plundered, 
and  they  were  in  great  distress.  It  was  another  of  the 
instances  we  were  constantly  meeting  of  the  effects  of 
civil  war.  They  insisted  on  our  remaining  at  the  house 
all  night,  which,  besides  that  they  were  interesting,  we 
were  not  loth  to  do  on  our  own  account.  The  place 
was  several'  thousand  feet  higher  than  where  we  slept 
the  night  before,  and  the  temperature  cold  and  wintry 
by  comparison.  Hammocks,  our  only  beds,  were  not 
used  at  all.  There  were  not  even  supporters  in  the 
cabildo  to  hang  them  on.  The  next  morning  the  mules 
were  all  drawn  up  by  the  cold,  their  coats  were  rough, 
and  my  poor  horse  was  so  chilled  that  he  could  hardly 
move.  In  coming  in  he  had  attracted  attention,  and  the 

EFFECT     OF     COLD.  167 

alcalde  wanted  to  buy  him.  In  the  morning  he  told  me 
that,  being  used  to  a  hot  climate,  the  horse  could  not 
bear  the  journey  across  the  Cordilleras,  which  was  con- 
firmed by  several  disinterested  persons  to  whom  he  ap- 
pealed. I  almost  suspected  him  of  having  done  the  horse 
some  injury,  so  as  to  make  me  leave  him  behind.  How- 
ever, by  moving  him  in  the  sun  his  limbs  relaxed,  and 
we  sent  him  off  with  the  men  and  luggage,  and  the 
promised  escort,  to  Totonicapan,  recommended  to  the 

At  a  quarter  before  nine  we  bade  farewell  to  the 
ladies  who  had  entertained  us  so  kindly,  and,  charged 
with  letters  and  messages  for  their  son  and  husband, 
set  out  with  Bobon  for  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche.  At  a 
short  distance  from  the  town  we  again  rose  upon  a 
ridge  which  commanded  a  view  of  the  lake  and  town ; 
the  last,  and,  as  we  thought,  the  loveliest  of  all.  At  a 
league's  distance  we  turned  off  from  the  camino  real  into 
a  narrow  bridle-path,  and  very  soon  entered  a  well-cul- 
tivated plain,  passed  a  forest  clear  of  brush  and  under- 
wood, like  a  forest  at  home,  and  followed  the  course  of 
a  beautiful  stream.  Again  we  came  out  upon  a  rich 
plain,  and  in  several  places  saw  clusters  of  aloes  in  full 
bloom.  The  atmosphere  was  transparent,  and,  as  in  an 
autumn  day  at  home,  the  sun  was  cheering  and  invig- 

At  twelve  o'clock  we  met  some  Indians,  who  told  us 
that  Santa  Thomas  was  three  leagues  distant,  and  five 
minutes  afterward  we  saw  the  town  apparently  not  more 
than  a  mile  off;  but  we  were  arrested  by  another  im- 
mense ravine.  The  descent  was  by  a  winding  zigzag 
path,  part  of  the  way  with  high  walls  on  either  side,  so 
steep  that  we  were  obliged  to  dismount  and  walk  all 
the  way,  hurried  on  by  our  own  impetus  and  the  mules 

168  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

crowding  upon  us  from  behind.  At  the  foot  of  the  ra- 
vine was  a  beautiful  stream,  at  which,  choked  with  dust 
and  perspiration,  we  stopped  to  drink.  We  mounted 
to  ford  the  stream,  and  almost  immediately  dismounted 
again  to  ascend  the  opposite  side  of  the  ravine.  This 
was  even  more  difficult  than  the  descent,  and  when  we 
reached  the  top  it  seemed  good  three  leagues.  We 
passed  on  the  right  another  awful  barranca,  broken  off 
from  the  table  of  land,  and  riding  close  along  its  edge, 
looked  down  into  an  abyss  of  two  or  three  thousand 
feet,  and  very  soon  reached  Santa  Thomas.  A  crowd 
of  Indians  was  gathered  in  the  plaza,  well  dressed  in 
brown  cloth,  and  with  long  black  hair,  without  hats. 
The  entire  population  was  Indian.  There  was  not  a 
single  white  man  in  the  place,  nor  one  who  could  speak 
Spanish,  except  an  old  Mestitzo,  who  was  the  secretary 
of  the  alcalde.  We  rode  up  to  the  cabildo,  and  tied 
our  mules  before  the  prison  door.  Groups  of  villanous 
faces  were  fixed  in  the  bars  of  the  windows.  We  call- 
ed for  the  alcalde,  presented  Carrera's  passport,  and 
demanded  sacate,  eggs,  and  frigoles  for  ourselves,  and 
a  guide  to  Quiche.  While  these  were  got,  the  alcalde, 
and  as  many  alguazils  as  could  find  a  place,  seated 
themselves  silently  on  a  bench  occupied  by  us.  In 
front  was  a  new  whipping-post.  There  was  not  a  word 
spoken ;  but  a  man  was  brought  up  before  it,  his  feet 
and  wrists  tied  together,  and  he  was  drawn  up  by  a 
rope  which  passed  through  a  groove  at  the  top  of  the 
post.  His  back  was  naked,  and  an  alguazil  stood  on 
his  left  with  a  heavy  cowhide  whip.  Every  stroke 
made  a  blue  streak,  rising  into  a  ridge,  from  which 
the  blood  started  and  trickled  down  his  back.  The 
poor  fellow  screamed  in  agony.  After  him  a  boy  was 
stretched  up  in  the  same  way.  At  the  first  lash,  with 


a  dreadful  scieam,  he  jerked  his  feet  out  of  the  ropes, 
and  seemed  to  fly  up  to  the  top  of  the  post.  He 
was  brought  back  and  secured,  and  whipped  till  the 
alcalde  was  satisfied.  This  was  one  of  the  reforms  in- 
stituted by  the  Central  government  of  Guatimala.  The 
Liberal  party  had  abolished  this  remnant  of  barbarity ; 
but  within  the  last  month,  at  the  wish  of  the  Indians 
themselves,  and  in  pursuance  of  the  general  plan  to  re- 
store old  usages  and  customs,  new  whipping-posts  had 
been  erected  in  all  the  villages.  Not  one  of  the  brutal 
beings  around  seemed  to  have  the  least  feeling  for  the 
victims.  Among  the  amateurs  were  several  criminals, 
whom  we  had  noticed  walking  in  chains  about  the  plaza, 
and  among  them  a  man  and  woman  in  rags,  bareheaded, 
with  long  hair  streaming  over  their  eyes,  chained  togeth- 
er by  the  hand  and  foot,  with  strong  bars  between  them 
to  keep  them  out  of  each  other's  reach.  They  were  a 
husband  and  wife,  who  had  shocked  the  moral  sense  of 
the  community  by  not  living  together.  The  punishment 
seemed  the  very  refinement  of  cruelty,  but  while  it  last- 
ed it  was  an  effectual  way  of  preventing  a  repetition  of 
the  offence. 

At  half  past  three,  with  an  alguazil  running  before 
us  and  Bobon  trotting  behind,  we  set  out  again,  and 
crossed  a  gently-rolling  plain,  with  a  distant  side-hill 
on  the  left,  handsomely  wooded,  and  reminding  us  of 
scenes  at  home,  except  that  on  the  left  was  another 
.immense  barranca,  with  large  trees,  whose  tops  were 
two  thousand  feet  below  us.  Leaving  a  village  on 
the  right,  we  passed  a  small  lake,  crossed  a  ravine, 
and  rose  to  the  plain  of  Quiche.  At  a  distance  on 
the  left  were  the  ruins  of  the  old  city,  the  once  large 
and  opulent  capital  of  Utatlan,  the  court  of  the  native 

VOL.  II.— Y  15 


kings  of  Quiche,  and  the  most  sumptuous  discovered  by 
the  Spaniards  in  this  section  of  America.  It  was  a  site 
worthy  to  be  the  abode  of  a  race  of  a  kings.  We 
passed  between  two  small  lakes,  rode  into  the  village, 
passed  on,  as  usual,  to  the  convent,  which  stood  beside 
the  church,  and  stopped  at  the  foot  of  a  high  flight  of 
stone  steps.  An  old  Indian  on  the  platform  told  us  to 
walk  in,  and  we  spurred  our  mules  up  the  steps,  rode 
through  the  corridor  into  a  large  apartment,  and  sent 
the  mules  down  another  flight  of  steps  into  a  yard  en- 
closed by  a  high  stone  fence.  The  convent  was  the 
first  erected  in  the  country  by  the  Dominican  friars, 
and  dated  from  the  time  of  Alvarado.  It  was  built  en- 
tirely of  stone,  with  massive  walls,  and  corridors,  pave- 
ments, and  courtyard  strong  enough  for  a  fortress ; 
but  most  of  the  apartments  were  desolate  or  filled  with 
rubbish  ;  one  was  used  for  sacate,  another  for  corn,  and 
another  fitted  up  as  a  roosting-place  for  fowls.  The 
padre  had  gone  to  another  village,  his  own  apartments 
were  locked,  and  we  were  shown  into  one  adjoining, 
about  thirty  feet  square,  and  nearly  as  high,  with  stone 
floor  and  walls,  and  without  a  single  article  in  it  except 
a  shattered  and  weather-beaten  soldier  in  one  corner, 
returning  from  campaigns  in  Mexico.  As  we  had 
brought  with  us  nothing  but  our  ponchas,  and  the  nights 
in  that  region  were  very  cold,  we  were  unwilling  to  risk 
sleeping  on  the  stone  floor,  and  with  the  padre's  Indian 
servant  went  to  the  alcalde,  who,  on  the  strength  of 
Carrera's  passport,  gave  us  the  audience-room  of  the 
cabildo,  which  had  at  one  end  a  raised  platform  with  a 
railing,  a  table,  and  two  long  benches  with  high  backs. 
Adjoining  was  the  prison,  being  merely  an  enclosure  of 
four  high  stone  walls,  without  any  roof,  and  filled  with 
more  than  the  usual  number  of  criminals,  some  of  whom, 


172  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

ited  by  people  of  different  nations.  According  to 
the  manuscript  of  Don  Juan  Torres,  the  grandson  of 
the  last  king  of  the  Quiches,  which  was  in  the  pos- 
session of  the  lieutenant-general  appointed  by  Pedro 
de  Alvarado,  and  which  Fuentes  says  he  obtained 
by  means  of  Father  Francis  Vasques,  the  historian 
of  the  order  of  San  Francis,  the  Toltecas  themselves 
descended  from  the  house  of  Israel,  who  were  released 
by  Moses  from  the  tyranny  of  Pharaoh,  and  after  cross- 
ing the  Red  Sea,  fell  into  idolatry.  To  avoid  the  re- 
proofs of  Moses,  or  from  fear  of  his  inflicting  upon  them 
some  chastisement,  they  separated  from  him  and  his 
brethren,  and  under  the  guidance  of  Tanub,  their  chief, 
passed  from  one  continent  to  the  other,  to  a  place  which 
they  called  the  seven  caverns,  a  part  of  the  kingdom  of 
Mexico,  where  they  founded  the  celebrated  city  of  Tula. 
From  Tanub  sprang  the  families  of  the  kings  of  Tula 
and  Quiche,  and  the  first  monarch  of  the  Toltecas.  Ni- 
maquiche, the  fifth  king  of  that  line,  and  more  beloved 
than  any  of  his  predecessors,  was  directed  by  an  oracle 
to  leave  Tula,  with  his  people,  who  had  by  this  time 
multiplied  greatly,  and  conduct  them  from  the  kingdom 
of  Mexico  to  that  of  Guatimala.  In  performing  this 
journey  they  consumed  many  years,  suffered  extraordi- 
nary hardships,  and  wandered  over  an  immense  tract  of 
country,  until  they  discovered  the  Lake  of  Atitan,  and 
resolved  to  settle  near  it  in  a  country  which  they  called 

Nimaquiche  was  accompanied  by  his  three  brothers, 
and  it  was  agreed  to  divide  the  new  country  between 
them.  Nimaquiche  died  ;  his  son  Axcopil  became  chief 
of  the  Quiches,  Kachiquels,  and  Zutugiles,  and  was  at 
the  head  of  his  nation  when  they  settled  in  Quiche,  and 
the  first  monarch  who  reigned  in  Utatlan.  Under  him 

HISTORY     OF     THE     QUICHES.  173 

the  monarchy  rose  to  a  high  degree  of  splendour.  To 
relieve  himself  from  some  of  the  fatigues  of  administra- 
tion, he  appointed  thirteen  captains  or  governors,  and  at 
a  very  advanced  age  divided  his  empire  into  three  king- 
doms, viz.,  the  Quiche,  the  Kachiquel,  and  the  Zutugil, 
retaining  the  first  for  himself,  and  giving  the  second  to 
his  eldest  son  Jintemal,  and -the  third  to  his  youngest 
son  Acxigual.  This  division  was  made  on  a  day  when 
three  suns  were  visible  at  the  same  time,  which  extra- 
ordinary circumstance,  says  the  manuscript,  has  induced 
some  persons  to  believe  that  it  was  made  on  the  day  of 
our  Saviour's  birth.  There  were  seventeen  Toltecan 
kings  who  reigned  in  Utatlan,  the  capital  of  Quich6, 
whose  names  have  come  down  to  posterity,  but  they  are 
so  hard  to  write  out  that  I  will  take  it  for  granted  the 
reader  is  familiar  with  them. 

Their  history,  like  that  of  man  in  other  parts  of  the 
world,  is  one  of  war  and  bloodshed.  Before  the  death 
of  Axcopii  his  sons  were  at  war,  which,  however,  was 
settled  by  his  mediation,  and  for  two  reigns  peace  ex- 
isted. In  the  reign  of  Balam  Acan,  the  next  king  of 
Quiche,  while  living  on  terms  of  great  intimacy  and 
friendship  with  his  cousin  Zutugilebpop,  king  of  the 
Zutugiles,  the  latter  abused  his  generosity  and  ran 
away  with  his  daughter  Ixconsocil ;  and  at  the  same 
time  Iloacab,  his  relative  and  favourite,  ran  away  with 
Ecselixpua,  the  niece  of  the  king.  The  rape  of  Helen 
did  not  produce  more  wars  and  bloodshed  than  the  car- 
rying off  of  these  two  young  ladies  with  unpronounceable 
names.  Balam  Acan  was  naturally  a  mild  man,  but 
the  abduction  of  his  daughter  was  an  affront  not  to  be 
pardoned.  "With  eighty  thousand  veterans,  himself  in 
the  centre  squadron,  adorned  with  three  diadems  and 
other  regal  ornaments,  carried  in  a  rich  chair  of  stale, 


splendidly  ornamented  with  gold,  emeralds,  and  othel 
precious  stones,  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  nobles  of  his 
court,  he  marched  against  Zutugilebpop,  who  met  him 
with  sixty  thousand  men,  commanded  by  Iloacab,  his 
chief  general  and  accomplice.  The  most  bloody  bat- 
tle ever  fought  in  the  country  took  place  ;  the  field  was 
so  deeply  inundated  with  blood  that  not  a  blade  of 
grass  could  be  seen.  Victory  long  remained  unde- 
cided, and  at  length  Iloacab  was  killed,  and  Balam 
Acan  remained  master  of  the  field.  But  the  campaign 
did  not  terminate  here.  Balam  Acan,  with  thirty  thou- 
sand veterans  under  his  personal  command  and  two 
other  bodies  of  thirty  thousand  each,  again  met  Zutugi- 
lebpop with  forty  thousand  of  his  own  warriors  and  forty 
thousand  auxiliaries.  The  latter  was  defeated,  and  es- 
caped at  night.  Balam  Acan  pursued  and  overtook 
him  ;  but  while  his  bearers  were  hastening  with  him  to 
the  thickest  of  the  fight,  they  lost  their  footing,  and 
precipitated  him  to  the  earth.  At  this  moment  Zutugi- 
lebpop was  advancing  with  a  chosen  body  of  ten  thou- 
sand lancers.  Balam  Acan  was  slain,  and  fourteen 
thousand  Indians  were  left  dead  on  the  field. 

The  war  was  prosecuted  by  the  successor  of  Balam, 
and  Zutugilebpop  sustained  such  severe  reverses  that 
he  fell  into  a  despondency  and  died.  The  war  was  con- 
tinued down  to  the  time  of  Kicah  Tanub,  who,  after  a 
sanguinary  struggle,  reduced  the  Zutugiles  and  Kachi- 
quels  to  subjection  to  the  kings  of  Q,uich6.  At  this  time 
the  kingdom  of  the  Quiches  had  attained  its  greatest 
splendour,  and  this  was  contemporaneous  with  that 
eventful  era  in  American  history,  the  reign  of  Montezuma 
and  the  invasion  of  the  Spaniards.  The  kings  of  Mex- 
ico and  Quiche  acknowledged  the  ties  of  relationship, 
and  in  a  manuscript  of  sixteen  quarto  leaves,  preserved 

COMING     OF    THE     SPANIARDS.  175 

by  the  Indians  of  San  Andres  Xecul,  it  is  related  that 
when  Montezuma  was  made  prisoner,  he  sent  a  private 
ambassador  to  Kicah  Tanub,  to  inform  him  that  some 
white  men  had  arrived  in  his  state,  and  made  war  upon 
him  with  such  impetuosity  that  the  whole  strength  of  his 
people  was  unable  to  resist  them ;  that  he  was  himself 
a  prisoner,  surrounded  by  guards ;  and  hearing  it  was 
the  intention  of  his  invaders  to  pass  on  to  the  kingdom 
of  Quiche,  he  sent  notice  of  the  design,  in  order  that 
Kicah  Tanub  might  be  prepared  to  oppose  them.  On 
receiving  this  intelligence,  the  King  of  Quiche  sent  for 
four  young  diviners,  whom  he  ordered  to  tell  him  what 
would  be  the  result  of  this  invasion.  They  requested 
time  to  give  their  answers ;  and,  taking  their  bows,  dis- 
charged some  arrows  against  a  rock ;  but,  seeing  that 
no  impression  was  made  upon  it,  returned  very  sorrow- 
fully, and  told  the  king  there  was  no  way  of  avoiding 
the  disaster ;  the  white  men  would  certainly  conquer 
them.  Kicah,  dissatisfied,  sent  for  the  priests,  desiring 
to  have  their  opinions  on  this  important  subject ;  and 
they,  from  the  ominous  circumstance  of  a  certain  stone, 
brought  by  their  forefathers  from  Egypt,  having  sud- 
denly split  into  two,  predicted  the  inevitable  ruin  of  the 
kingdom.  At  this  time  he  received  intelligence  of  the 
arrival  of  the  Spaniards  on  the  borders  of  Soconusco 
to  invade  his  territory  ;  but,  undismayed  by  the  auguries 
of  diviners  or  priests,  he  prepared  for  war.  Messages 
were  sent  by  him  to  the  conquered  kings  and  chiefs 
under  his  command,  urging  them  to  co-operate  for  the 
common  defence ;  but,  glad  of  an  opportunity  to  rebel, 
Sinacam,  the  king  of  Guatimala,  declared  openly  that  he 
was  a  friend  to  the  Teules  or  Gods,  as  the  Spaniards 
were  called  by  the  Indians  ;  and  the  King  of  the  Zutu- 
giles  answered  haughtily  that  he  was  able  to  defend 


his  kingdom  alone  against  a  more  numerous  and  less 
famished  army  than  that  which  was  approaching  Quiche. 
Irritation,  wounded  pride,  anxiety,  and  fatigue,  brought 
on  a  sickness  which  carried  Tanub  off  in  a  few  days. 

His  son  Tecum  Umam  succeeded  to  his  honours  and 
troubles.  In  a  short  time  intelligence  was  received  that 
the  captain  (Alvarado)  and  his  Teules  had  marched  to 
besiege  Xelahuh  (now  Quezaltenango),  next  to  the  cap- 
ital the  largest  city  of  Quiche.  At  that  time  it  had 
within  its  walls  eighty  thousand  men  ;  but  such  was  the 
fame  of  the  Spaniards  that  Tecum  Umam  determined  to 
go  to  its  assistance.  He  left  the  capital,  at  the  threshold 
of  which  we  stood,  borne  in  his  litter  on  the  shoulders  of 
the  principal  men  of  his  kingdom,  and  preceded  by  the 
music  of  flutes,  cornets,  and  drums,  and  seventy  thousand 
men,  commanded  by  his  general  Ahzob,  his  lieutenant 
Ahzumanche,  the  grand  shield-bearer  Ahpocob,  other 
officers  of  dignity  with  still  harder  names,  and  numerous 
attendants  bearing  parasols  and  fans  of  feathers  for  the 
comfort  of  the  royal  person.  An  immense  number  of 
Indian  carriers  followed  with  baggage  and  provisions. 
At  the  populous  city  of  Totonicapan  the  army  was  in- 
creased to  ninety  thousand  fighting  men.  At  Quezal- 
tenango  he  was  joined  by  ten  more  chiefs,  well  armed 
and  supplied  with  provisions,  displaying  all  the  gor- 
geous insignia  of  their  rank,  and  attended  by  twenty- 
four  thousand  soldiers.  At  the  same  place  he  was  re-en- 
forced by  forty-six  thousand  more,  adorned  with  plumes 
of  different  colours,  and  with  arms  of  every  description, 
the  chiefs  decorated  with  the  skins  of  lions,  tigers,  and 
bears,  as  distinguishing  marks  of  their  bravery  and  war- 
like prowess.  Tecum  Umam  marshalled  under  his  ban- 
ners on  the  plain  of  Tzaccapa  two  hundred  and  thirty 
thousand  warriors,  and  fortified  his  camp  with  a  wall 

OVERTHROW     OF     THE     NATIVES.  177 

of  loose  stones,  enclosing  within  its  circuit  several 
mountains.  In  the  camp  were  several  military  ma- 
chines, formed  of  beams  on  rollers,  to  be  moved  from 
place  to  place.  After  a  series  of  desperate  and  bloody 
battles,  the  Spaniards  routed  this  immense  army,  and 
entered  the  city  of  Xelahuh.  The  fugitives  rallied  out- 
side, and  made  a  last  effort  to  surround  and  crush  the 
Spaniards.  Tecum  Umam  commanded  in  person,  sin- 
gled out  Alvarado,  attacked  him  three  times  hand  to 
hand,  and  wounded  his  horse ;  but  the  last  time  Alva- 
rado pierced  him  with  a  lance,  and  killed  him  on  the 
spot.  The  fury  of  the  Indians  increased  to  madness ; 
in  immense  masses  they  rushed  upon  the  Spaniards ; 
and,  seizing  the  tails  of  the  horses,  endeavoured  by  main 
force  to  bring  horse  and  rider  to  the  ground ;  but,  at  a 
critical  moment,  the  Spaniards  attacked  in  close  column, 
broke  the  solid  masses  of  the  Quiches,  routed  the  whole 
army,  and  slaying  an  immense  number,  became  com- 
pletely masters  of  the  field.  But  few  of  the  seventy 
thousand  who  marched  out  from  the  capital  with  Te- 
cum Umam  ever  returned  ;  and,  hopeless  of  being  able 
to  resist  any  longer  by  force,  they  had  recourse  to 
treachery.  At  a  council  of  war  called  at  Utatlan  by 
the  king,  Chinanivalut,  son  and  successor  of  Tecum 
Umam,  it  was  determined  to  send  an  embassy  to  Alva- 
rado, with  a  valuable  present  of  gold,  suing  for  par- 
don, promising  submission,  and  inviting  the  Spaniards 
to  the  capital.  In  a  few  days  Alvarado,  with  his  army, 
in  high  spirits  at  the  prospect  of  a  termination  of  this 
bloody  war,  encamped  upon  the  plain. 

This  was  the  first  appearance  of  strangers  at  Utatlan, 
the  capital  of  the  great  Indian  kingdom,  the  ruins  of 
which  were  now  under  our  eyes,  once  the  most  popu- 
lous and  opulent  city,  not  only  of  Quiche,  but  of  the 

VOL.  II.—  Z 

178  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

whole  kingdom  of  Guatimala.  According  to  Fuentes, 
who  visited  it  for  the  purpose  of  collecting  information, 
and  who  gathered  his  facts  partly  from  the  remains  and 
partly  from  manuscripts,  it  was  surrounded  by  a  deep 
ravine  that  formed  a  natural  fosse,  leaving  only  two 
very  narrow  roads  as  entrances,  both  of  which  were  so 
well  defended  by  the  castle  of  Resguardo,  as  to  render  it 
impregnable.  The  centre  of  the  city  was  occupied  by 
the  royal  palace,  which  was  surrounded  by  the  houses 
of  the  nobility  ;  the  extremities  were  inhabited  by  the 
plebeians;  and  some  idea  may  be  formed  of  its  vast 
population  from  the  fact,  before  mentioned,  that  the 
king  drew  from  it  no  less  than  seventy-two  thousand 
fighting  men  to  oppose  the  Spaniards.  It  contained 
many  very  sumptuous  edifices,  the  most  superb  of  which 
was  a  seminary,  where  'between  five  and  six  thousand 
children  were  educated  at  the  charge  of  the  royal 
treasury.  The  castle  of  the  Atalaya  was  a  remarkable 
structure,  four  stories  high,  and  capable  of  furnishing 
quarters  for  a  very  strong  garrison.  The  castle  of 
Resguardo  was  five  stories  high,  extending  one  hundred 
and  eighty  paces  in  front,  and  two  hundred  and  thirty 
in  depth.  The  grand  alcazar,  or  palace  of  the  kings 
of  Quiche,  surpassed  every  other  edifice;  and  in  the 
opinion  of  Torquemada,  it  could  compete  in  opulence 
with  that  of  Montezuma  in  Mexico,  or  that  of  the  Incas 
in  Cuzco.  The  front  extended  three  hundred  and  sev- 
enty-six geometrical  paces  from  east  to  west,  and  it  was 
seven  hundred  and  twenty-eight  paces  in  depth.  It  was 
constructed  of  hewn  stones  of  various  colours.  There 
were  six  principal  divisions.  The  first  contained  lodg- 
ings for  a  numerous  troop  of  lancers,  archers,  and  other 
troops,  constituting  the  royal  body-guard.  The  second 


was  assigned  to  the  princes  and  relations  of  the  king ; 
the  third  to  the  monarch  himself,  containing  distinct 
suites  of  apartments  for  the  mornings,  evenings,  and 
nights.  In  one  of  the  saloons  stood  the  throne,  under 
four  canopies  of  feathers ;  and  in  this  portion  of  the  pal- 
ace were  the  treasury,  tribunals  of  the  judges,  armory, 
aviaries,  and  menageries.  The  fourth  and  fifth  divis- 
ions were  occupied  by  the  queen  and  royal  concubines, 
with  gardensv  baths,  and  places  for  breeding  geese, 
which  were  kept  to  supply  feathers  for  ornaments. 
The  sixth  and  last  division  was  the  residence  of  the 
daughters  and  other  females  of  the  blood  royal. 

Such  is  the  account  as  derived  by  the  Spanish  histo- 
rians from  manuscripts  composed  by  some  of  the  ca- 
ciques who  first  acquired  the  art  of  writing ;  and  it  is 
related  that  from  Tanub,  who  conducted  them  from  the 
old  to  the  new  Continent,  down  to  Tecum  Umam,  was 
a  line  of  twenty  monarchs. 

Alvarado,  on  the  invitation  of  the  king,  entered  this 
city  with  his  army ;  but,  observing  the  strength  of  the 
place ;  that  it  was  well  walled,  and  surrounded  by  a 
deep  ravine,  having  but  two  approaches  to  it,  the  one 
by  an  ascent  of  twenty-five  steps,  and  the  other  by  a 
causeway,  and  both  extremely  narrow  ;  that  the  streets 
were  but  of  trifling  breadth,  and  the  houses  very  lofty  ; 
that  there  were  neither  women  nor  children  to  be  seen, 
and  that  the  Indians  seemed  agitated,  the  soldiers  be- 
gan to  suspect  some  deceit.  Their  apprehensions  were 
soon  confirmed  by  Indian  allies  of  Quezaltenango,  who 
discovered  that  the  people  intended  that  night  to  fire 
their  capital,  and  while  the  flames  were  rising,  to  burst 
upon  the  Spaniards  with  large  bodies  of  men  concealed 
in  the  neighbourhood,  and  put  every  one  to  death. 
These  tidings  were  found  to  be  in  accordance  with  the 

180  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

movements  of  the  Utatlans ;  and  on  examining  the 
houses,  the  Spaniards  discovered  that  there  were  no 
preparations  of  provisions  to  regale  them,  as  had  been 
promised,  but  everywhere  was  a  quantity  of  light  dry 
fuel  and  other  combustibles.  Alvarado  called  his  offi- 
cers together,  and  laid  before  them  their  perilous  situa- 
tion, and  the  immediate  necessity  of  withdrawing  from 
the  place  ;  and  pretending  to  the  king  and  his  ca- 
ciques that  their  horses  were  better  in  the  open  fields, 
the  troops  were  collected,  and  without  any  appearance 
of  alarm,  marched  in  good  order  to  the  plain.  The 
king,  with  pretended  courtesy,  accompanied  them,  and 
Alvarado,  taking  advantage  of  the  opportunity,  made 
him  prisoner,  and  after  trial  and  proof  of  his  treachery, 
hung  him  on  the  spot.  But  neither  the  death  of  Te- 
cum  nor  the  ignominious  execution  of  his  son  could 
quell  the  fierce  spirit  of  the  Quiches.  A  new  ebullition 
of  animosity  and  rage  broke  forth.  A  general  attack 
was  made  upon  the  Spaniards  ;  but  Spanish  bravery  and 
discipline  increased  with  danger ;  and  after  a  dreadful 
havoc  by  the  artillery  and  horses,  the  Indians  aban- 
doned a  field  covered  with  their  dead,  and  Utatlan,  the 
capital,  with  the  whole  kingdom  of  Quiche,  fell  into 
the  hands  of  Alvarado  and  the  Spaniards. 

As  we  stood  on  the  ruined  fortress  of  Resguardo,  the 
great  plain,  consecrated  by  the  last  struggle  of  a  brave 
people,  lay  before  us  grand  and  beautiful,  its  blood- 
stains all  washed  out,  and  smiling  with  fertility,  but  per- 
fectly desolate.  Our  guide  leaning  on  his  sword  in  the 
area  beneath  was  the  only  person  in  sight.  But  very 
soon  Bobon  introduced  a  stranger,  who  came  stumbling 
along  under  a  red  silk  umbrella,  talking  to  Bobon  and 
looking  up  at  us.  We  recognised  him  as  the  cura,  and 
descended  to  meet  him.  He  laughed  to  see  us  grope 

A     CLERICAL     ODDITV.  181 

our  way  down;  by  degrees  his  laugh  became  infec- 
tious, and  when  we  met  we  all  laughed  together.  All 
at  once  he  stopped,  looked  very  solemn,  pulled  off  his 
neckcloth,  and  wiped  the  perspiration  from  his  face, 
took  out  a  paper  of  cigars,  laughed,  thrust  them  back, 
pulled  out  another,  as  he  said,  of  Habaneras,  and  asked 
what  was  the  news  from  Spain. 

Our  friend's  dress  was  as  unclerical  as  his  manner, 
viz.,  a  broad-brimmed  black  glazed  hat,  an  old  black 
coat  reaching  to  his  heels,  glossy  from  long  use,  and 
pantaloons  to  match  ;  a  striped  roundabout,  a  waistcoat, 
flannel  shirt,  and  under  it  a  cotton  one,  perhaps  wash- 
ed when  he  shaved  last,  some  weeks  before.  He 
laughed  at  our  coming  to  see  the  ruins,  and  said  that 
he  laughed  prodigiously  himself  when  he  first  saw  them. 
He  was  from  Old  Spain ;  had  seen  the  battle  of  Trafal- 
gar, looking  on  from  the  heights  on  shore,  and  laughed 
whenever  he  thought  of  it ;  the  French  fleet  was  blown 
sky  high,  and  the  Spanish  went  with  it ;  Lord  Nelson 
was  killed — all  for  glory — he  could  not  help  laughing. 
He  had  left  Spain  to  get  rid  of  wars  and  revolutions  : 
here  we  all  laughed ;  sailed  with  twenty  Dominican 
friars ;  was  fired  upon  and  chased  into  Jamaica  by  a 
French  cruiser  :  here  we  laughed  again  ;  got  an  Eng- 
lish convoy  to  Omoa,  where  he  arrived  at  the  breaking 
out  of  a  revolution ;  had  been  all  his  life  in  the  midst 
of  revolutions,  and  it  was  now  better  than  ever.  Here 
we  all  laughed  incontinently.  His  own  laugh  was  so 
rich  and  expressive  that  it  was  perfectly  irresistible. 
In  fact,  we  were  not  disposed  to  resist,  and  in  half  an 
hour  we  were  as  intimate  as  if  acquainted  for  years. 
The  world  was  our  butt,  and  we  laughed  at  it  outra- 
geously. Except  the  Church,  there  were  few  things 
which  the  cur  a  did  not  laugh  at ;  but  politics  was  his  fa- 


182  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

vourite  subject.  He  was  in  favour  of  Morazan,  or  Car- 
rera,  or  el  Demonic  :  "  vamos  adelante,"  "  go  ahead," 
was  his  motto;  he  laughed  at  them  all.  If  we  had  parted 
with  him  then,  we  should  always  have  remembered  him 
as  the  laughing  cura ;  but,  on  farther  acquaintance,  we 
found  in  him  such  a  vein  of  strong  sense  and  knowl- 
edge, and,  retired  as  he  lived,  he  was  so  intimately  ac- 
quainted with  the  country  and  all  the  public  men,  as  a 
mere  looker  on  his  views  were  so  correct  and  his  satire 
so  keen,  yet  without  malice,  that  we  improved  his  title 
by  calling  him  the  laughing  philosopher. 

Having  finished  our  observations  at  this  place,  stop- 
ping to  laugh  as  some  new  greatness  or  folly  of  the 
world,  past,  present,  or  to  come,  occurred  to  us,  we 
descended  by  a  narrow  path,  crossed  a  ravine,  and 
entered  upon  the  table  of  land  on  which  stood  the 
palace  and  principal  part  of  the  city.  Mr.  Cather- 
wood  and  I  began  examining  and  measuring  the  ruins, 
and  the  padre  followed  us,  talking  and  laughing  all  the 
time  ;  and  when  we  were  on  some  high  place,  out  of 
his  reach,  he  seated  Bobon  at  the  foot,  discoursing  to 
him  of  Alvarado,  and  Montezuma,  and  the  daughter  of 
the  King  of  Tecpan  Guatimala,  and  books  and  manu- 
scripts in  the  convent ;  to  all  which  Bobon  listened  with- 
out comprehending  a  word  or  moving  a  muscle,  looking 
him  directly  in  the  face,  and  answering  his  long  low 
laugh  with  a  respectful  "  Si,  senor." 

The  plan  in  the  division  of  the  last  engraving  marked 
A,  represents  the  topography  of  the  ground  in  the  heart 
of  the  city  which  was  occupied  by  the  palace  and  other 
buildings  of  the  royal  house  of  Quiche.  It  is  surround- 
ed by  an  immense  barranca  or  ravine,  and  the  only  en- 
trance is  through  that  part  of  the  ravine  by  which  we 
reached  it,  and  which  is  defended  by  the  fortress  before 


referred  to,  marked  B  in  the  plate.  The  cura  pointed 
out  to  us  one  part  of  the  ravine  which,  he  said,  accord- 
ing to  old  manuscripts  formerly  existing  in  the  convent, 
but  now  carried  away,  was  artificial,  and  upon  which 
forty  thousand  men  had  been  employed  at  one  time. 

The  whole  area  was  once  occupied  by  the  palace, 
seminary,  and  other  buildings  of  the  royal  house  of  Qui- 
che, which  now  lie  for  the  most  part  in  confused  and 
shapeless  masses  of  ruins.  The  palace,  as  the  cura  told 
us,  with  its  courts  and  corridors,  once  covering  the  whole 
diameter,  is  completely  destroyed,  and  the  materials 
have  been  carried  away  to  build  the  present  village.  In 
part,  however,  the  floor  remains  entire,  with  fragments 
of  the  partition  walls,  so  that  the  plan  of  the  apartments 
can  be  distinctly  made  out.  This  floor  is  of  a  hard  ce- 
ment, which,  though  year  after  year  washed  by  the 
floods  of  the  rainy  season,  is  hard  and  durable  as  stone. 
The  inner  walls  were  covered  with,  plaster  of  a  finer 
description,  and  in  corners  where  there  had  been  less 
exposure  were  the  remains  of  colours ;  no  doubt  the 
whole  interior  had  been  ornamented  with  paintings. 
It  gave  a  strange  sensation  to  walk  the  floor  of  that 
roofless  palace,  and  think  of  that  king  who  left  it  at  the 
head  of  seventy  thousand  men  to  repel  the  invaders  of 
his  empire.  Corn  was  now  growing  among  the  ruins. 
The  ground  was  used  by  an  Indian  family  which  claim- 
ed to  be  descended  from  the  royal  house.  In  one  place 
was  a  desolate  hut,  occupied  by  them  at  the  time  of 
planting  and  gathering  the  corn.  Adjoining  the  palace 
was  a  large  plaza  or  courtyard,  also  covered  with  hard 
cement,  in  the  centre  of  which  were  the  relics  of  a  fount- 

The  most  important  part  remaining  of  these  ruins  is 
that  which  appears  in  the  engraving,  and  which  is  call- 


ed  El  Sacrificatorio,  or  the  place  of  sacrifice.  It  is  a 
quadrangular  stone  structure,  sixty-six  feet  on  each  side 
at  the  base,  and  rising  in  a  pyramidal  form  to  the  height, 
in  its  present  condition,  of  thirty-three  feet.  On  three 
sides  there  is  a  range  of  steps  in  the  middle,  each  step 
seventeen  inches  high,  and  but  eight  inches  on  the  up- 
per surface,  which  makes  the  range  so  steep  that  in  de- 
scending some  caution  is  necessary.  At  the  corners  are 
four  buttresses  of  cut  stone,  diminishing  in  size  from  the 
line  of  the  square,  and  apparently  intended  to  support 
the  structure.  On  the  side  facing  the  west  there  are  no 
steps,  but  the  surface  is  smooth  and  covered  with  stuc- 
co, gray  from  long  exposure.  By  breaking  a  little  at 
the  corners  we  saw  that  there  were  different  layers  of 
stucco,  doubtless  put  on  at  different  times,  and  all  had 
been  ornamented  with  painted  figures.  In  one  place 
we  made  out  part  of  the  body  of  a  leopard,  well  drawn 
and  coloured. 

The  top  of  the  Sacrificatorio  is  broken  and  ruined, 
but  there  is  no  doubt  that  it  once  supported  an  altar  for 
those  sacrifices  of  human  victims  which  struck  even  the 
Spaniards  with  horror.  It  was  barely  large  enough  for 
the  altar  and  officiating  priests,  and  the  idol  to  whom 
the  sacrifice  was  offered.  The  whole  was  in  full  view 
of  the  people  at  the  foot. 

The  barbarous  ministers  carried  up  the  victim  entire- 
ly naked,  pointed  out  the  idol  to  which  the  sacrifice  was 
made,  that  the  people  might  pay  their  adorations,  and 
then  extended  him  upon  the  altar.  This  had  a  convex 
surface,  and  the  body  of  the  victim  lay  arched,  with 
the  trunk  elevated  and  the  head  and  feet  depressed. 
Four  priests  held  the  legs  and  arms,  and  another 
kept  his  head  firm  with  a  wooden  instrument  made  in 
the  form  of  a  coiled  serpent,  so  that  he  was  prevented 



;  for  the  sacrifice,  the 

an  ej 

uala.     Don  Mf 

inguwhed  ior  hi?>  sc: 

-,  am!   k>; 




and  the  surface  as  smooth  as  if  coated  with  enamel.  It 
is  twelve  inches  high,  and  the  interior  is  hollow,  in- 
cluding the  arms  and  legs.  In  his  report  to  the  govern- 
ment, Don  Miguel  calls  it  Cabuahuil,  or  one  of  the  dei- 
ties of  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  Quiche.  I  do  not 
know  upon  what  authority  he  has  given  it  this  name, 
but  to  me  it  does  not  seem  improbable  that  his  sup- 
position is  true,  and  that  to  this  earthen  vessel  human 
victims  have  been  offered  in  sacrifice. 

The  heads  in  the  engraving  were  given  me  by  the 
cura.  They  are  of  terra  cotta ;  the  lower  one  is  hol- 
low and  the  upper  is  solid,  with  a  polished  surface. 
They  are  hard  as  stone,  and  in  workmanship  will  com- 
pare with  images  in  the  same  material  by  artists  of  the 
present  day. 

In  our  investigation  of  antiquities  we  considered  this 
place  important  from  the  fact  that  its  history  is  known 
and  its  date  fixed.  It  was  in  its  greatest  splendour 
when  Alvarado  conquered  it.  It  proves  the  character 
of  the  buildings  which  the  Indians  of  that  day  construct- 
ed, and  in  its  ruins  confirms  the  glowing  accounts  given 
by  Cortez  and  his  companions  of  the  splendour  display- 
ed in  the  edifices  of  Mexico.  The  point  to  which  we 
directed  our  attention  was  to  discover  some  resemblance 
to  the  ruins  of  Copan  and  Quirigua ;  but  we  did  not 
find  statues,  or  carved  figures,  or  hieroglyphics,  nor 
could  we  learn  that  any  had  ever  been  found  there.  If 
there  had  been  such  evidences  we  should  have  consid- 
ered these  remains  the  works  of  the  same  race  of  peo- 
ple, but  in  the  absence  of  such  evidences  we  believed 
that  Copan  and  Quirigua  were  cities  of  another  race 
and  of  a  much  older  date. 

The  padre  told  us  that  thirty  years  before,  when  he 
first  saw  it,  the  palace  was  entire  to  the  garden.  He  was 

DISTRUST     OP    THE     INDIANS.  187 

then  fresh  from  the  palaces  of  Spain,  and  it  seemed  as 
if  he  was  again  among  them.  Shortly  after  his  arrival 
a  small  gold  image  was  found  and  sent  to  Zerabia,  the 
president  of  Guatimala,  who  ordered  a  commission 
from  the  capital  to  search  for  hidden  treasure.  In  this 
search  the  palace  was  destroyed ;  the  Indians,  roused 
by  the  destruction  of  their  ancient  capital,  rose,  and 
threatened  to  kill  the  workmen  unless  they  left  the  coun- 
try ;  and  but  for  this,  the  cura  said,  every  stone  would 
have  been  razed  to  the  ground.  The  Indians  of  Quich6 
have  at  all  times  a  bad  name  ;  at  Guatimala  it  was  al- 
ways spoken  of  as  an  unsafe  place  to  visit ;  and  the  padre 
told  us  that  they  looked  with  distrust  upon  any  stranger 
coming  to  the  ruins.  At  that  moment  they  were  in  a 
state  of  universal  excitement ;  and  coming  close  to  us, 
he  said  that  in  the  village  they  stood  at  swords'  points 
with  the  Mestitzoes,  ready  to  cut  their  throats,  and  with 
all  his  exertions  he  could  barely  keep  down  a  general 
rising  and  massacre.  Even  this  information  he  gave  us 
with  a  laugh.  We  asked  him  if  he  had  no  fears  for 
himself.  He  said  no ;  that  he  was  beloved  by  the  In- 
dians ;  he  had  passed  the  greater  part  of  his  life  among 
them ;  and  as  yet  the  padres  were  safe :  the  Indians 
considered  them  almost  as  saints.  Here  he  laughed. 
Carrera  was  on  their  side  ;  but  if  he  turned  against  them 
it  would  be  time  to  fly.  This  was  communicated  and 
received  with  peals  of  laughter ;  and  the  more  serious 
the  subject,  the  louder  was  our  cachinnation.  And  all 
the  time  the  padre  made  continual  reference  to  books 
and  manuscripts,  showing  antiquarian  studies  and  pro- 
found knowledge. 

Under  one  of  the  buildings  was  an  opening  which 
the  Indians  called  a  cave,  and  by  which  they  said  one 
could  reach  Mexico  in  an  hour.  I  crawled  under,  and 


found  a  pointed-arch  roof  formed  by  stones  lapping 
over  each  other,  but  was  prevented  exploring  it  by 
want  of  light,  and  the  padre's  crying  to  me  that  it  was 
the  season  of  earthquakes ;  and  he  laughed  more  than 
usual  at  the  hurry  with  which  I  came  out ;  but  all  at 
once  he  stopped,  and  grasping  his  pantaloons,  hopped 
about,  crying,  "a  snake,  a  snake."  The  guide  and 
Bobon  hurried  to  his  relief ;  and  by  a  simple  process, 
but  with  great  respect,  one  at  work  on  each  side,  were 
in  a  fair  way  of  securing  the  intruder ;  but  the  padre 
could  not  stand  still,  and  with  his  agitation  and  restless- 
ness tore  loose  from  their  hold,  and  brought  to  light  a 
large  grasshopper.  While  Bobon  and  the  guide,  with- 
out a  smile,  restored  him,  and  put  each  button  in  its 
place,  we  finished  with  a  laugh  outrageous  to  the  mem- 
ory of  the  departed  inhabitants,  and  to  all  sentiment 
connected  with  the  ruins  of  a  great  city. 

As  we  returned  to  the  village  the  padre  pointed  out 
on  the  plain  the  direction  of  four  roads,  which  led,  and 
which,  according  to  him,  are  still  open,  to  Mexico,  Tec- 
pan  Guatimala,  Los  Altos,  and  Vera  Paz. 

INTERIOR     OF     A     CONVENT.  189 


Interior  of  a  Convent. — Royal  Bird  of  Quiche.— Indian  Languages. — The  Lord's 
Prayer  in  the  Quiche  Language.— Numerals  in  the  same — Church  of  Quiche*. 
— Indian  Superstitions. — Another  lost  City. — Tierra  de  Guerra. — The  Abori- 
ginals.—Their  Conversion  to  Christianity. — They  were  never  conquered.— A 
living  City. — Indian  Tradition  respecting  this  City. — Probably  has  never  been 
visited  by  the  Whites. — Presents  a  noble  Field  for  future  Enterprise. — Depar- 
ture.— San  Pedro.— Virtue  of  a  Passport. — A  difficult  Ascent. — Mountain 
Scenery. — Totonicapan. — An  excellent  Dinner. — A  Country  of  Aloes. — "  River 
of  Blood." — Arrival  at  Quezaltenango. 

IT  was  late  when  we  returned  to  the  convent.  The 
good  padre  regretted  not  being  at  home  when  we  arri- 
ved, and  said  that  he  always  locked  his  room  to  prevent 
the  women  throwing  things  into  confusion.  When  we 
entered  it  was  in  what  he  called  order,  but  this  order  was 
of  a  class  that  beggars  description.  The  room  contain- 
ed a  table,  chairs,  and  two  settees,  but  there  was  not  a 
vacant  place  even  on  the  table  to  sit  down  or  to  lay  a 
hat  upon.  Every  spot  was  encumbered  with  articles, 
of  which  four  bottles,  a  cruet  of  mustard  and  another  of 
oil,  bones,  cups,  plates,  sauce-boat,  a  large  lump  of  su- 
gar, a  paper  of  salt,  minerals  and  large  stones,  shells, 
pieces  of  pottery,  sculls,  bones,  cheese,  books,  and  man- 
uscripts formed  part.  On  a  shelf  over  his  bed  were  two 
stuffed  quezales,  the  royal  bird  of  Quiche,  the  most 
beautiful  that  flies,  so  proud  of  its  tail  that  it  builds  its 
nest  with  two  openings,  to  pass  in  and  out  without  turn- 
ing, and  whose  plumes  were  not  permitted  to  be  used 
except  by  the  royal  family. 

Amid  this  confusion  a  corner  was  cleared  on  the  ta- 
ble for  dinner.  The  conversation  continued  in  the  same 
unbroken  stream  of  knowledge,  research,  sagacity,  and 
satire  on  his  part.  Political  matters  were  spoken  of  in 

190  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

whispers  when  any  servants  were  in  the  rooms.  A 
laugh  was  the  comment  upon  everything,  and  in  the 
evening  we  were  deep  in  the  mysteries  of  Indian  his- 

Besides  the  Mexican  or  Aztec  language,  spoken  by 
the  Pipil  Indians  along  the  coast  of  the  Pacific,  there 
are  twenty-four  dialects  peculiar  to  Guatimala.  Though 
sometimes  bearing  such  a  strong  resemblance  in  some 
of  their  idioms  that  the  Indians  of  one  tribe  can  under- 
stand each  other,  in  general  the  padres,  after  years  o£ 
residence,  can  only  speak  the  language  of  the  tribe 
among  which  they  live.  This  diversity  of  languages 
had  seemed  to  me  an  insuperable  impediment  in  the 
way  of  any  thorough  investigation  and  study  of  Indian 
history  and  traditions ;  but  the  cura,  profound  in  every- 
thing that  related  to  the  Indians,  told  us  that  the  Quiche 
was  the  parent  tongue,  and  that,  by  one  familiar  with 
it,  the  others  are  easily  acquired.  If  this  be  true,  a  new 
and  most  interesting  field  of  research  is  opened.  Du- 
ring my  whole  journey,  even  at  Guatimala,  I  had  not 
been  able  to  procure  any  grammar  of  an  Indian  lan- 
guage, nor  any  manuscripts.  I  made  several  vocabu- 
laries, which  I  have  not  thought  it  worth  while  to  pub- 
lish ;  but  the  padre  had  a  book  prepared  by  some  of  the 
early  fathers  for  the  church  service,  which  he  promised 
to  have  copied  for  me  and  sent  to  a  friend  at  Guatima- 
la, and  from  which  I  copied  the  Lord's  prayer  in  the 
Q,uich6  language.  It  is  as  follows  : 

Cacahan  chicah  lae  coni  Vtzah.  Vcahaxtizaxie  mayih 
Bila  Chipa  ta  pa  Cani  ahauremla  Chibantah.  Ahuamla 
Uaxale  Chiyala  Chiqueeh  hauta  Vleus  quehexi  Caban 
Chicah.  Uacamic  Chiyala.  Chiqueeh  hauta.  Eihil 
Caua.  Zachala  Camac  quehexi  Cacazachbep  qui.  Mac 
Xemocum  Chiqueeh:  moho  Estachcula  maxa  Copahic 

SPECIMEN     OP     QUICHE     LANGUAGE.          191 

Chupamtah  Chibal  mac  xanare  Cohcolta  la  ha  Vonohel 
itgel  quehe  Chucoe.     Amen. 

I  will  add  the  following  numerals,  as  taken  from  the 
same  book  : 

Hun,  one.  Uaelahuh,  sixteen. 

Quieb,  two.  Velahuh,  seventeen. 

Dxib,  three.  Uapxaelahuh,  eighteen. 

Quieheb,  four.  Belehalahuh,  nineteen. 

Hoobj^foe.  Huuinac,  twenty. 

Uacacguil,  six.  Huuinacfaw,  twenty-one. 

Veuib,  seven.  Huuinachlahuh,  thirty. 

Uahxalquib,  eight.  Cauinae,  forty. 

Beleheb,  nine.  Lahuh  Raxcal,  fifty. 
Lahuh,  ten.                    '       Oxcal,  sixty. 

Hulahuh,  eleven.  Lahuh  Vhumuch,  seventy. 

Cablahuh,  twelve.  Humuch,  eighty. 

Dxlahuh,  thirteen.  Lahuh  Rocal,  ninety. 

Cahlahuh,  fourteen.  Ocal,  a  hundred. 

Hoolahuh,  fifteen.  Otuc  Rox  Ocob,  a  thousand. 

Whether  there  is  any  analogy  between  this  language 
and  that  of  any  of  our  own  Indian  tribes,  I  am  not  able 
to  say. 

For  a  man  who  has  not  reached  that  period  when  a 
few  years  tell  upon  his  teeth  and  hair,  I  know  of  no 
place  where,  if  the  country  becomes  quiet,  they  might 
be  passed  with  greater  interest  than  at  Santa  Cruz  del 
Quiche,  in  studying,  by  means  of  their  language,  the 
character  and  traditionary  history  of  the  Indians ;  for 
here  they  still  exist,  in  many  respects,  an  unchanged 
people,  cherishing  the  usages  and  customs  of  their  an- 
cestors ;  and  though  the  grandeur  and  magnificence  of 
the  churches,  the  pomp  and  show  of  religious  ceremo- 
nies, affect  their  rude  imaginations,  the  padre  told  us 

192  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

that  in  their  hearts  they  were  full  of  superstitions,  and 
still  idolaters ;  had  their  idols  in  the  mountains  and  ra- 
vines, and  in  silence  and  secrecy  practised  the  rites  re- 
ceived from  their  fathers.  He  was  compelled  to  wink 
at  them ;  and  there  was  one  proof  which  he  saw  every 
day.  The  church  of  Quiche  stands  east  and  west.  On 
entering  it  for  vespers  the  Indians  always  bowed  to  the 
west,  in  reverence  to  the  setting  sun.  He  told  us,  too, 
what  requires  confirmation,  and  what  we  were  very  cu- 
rious to  judge  of  for  ourselves,  that  in  a  cave  near  a 
neighbouring  village  were  sculls  much  larger  than  the 
natural  size,  and  regarded  with  superstitious  reverence 
by  the  Indians.  He  had  seen  them,  and  vouched  for 
their  gigantic  dimensions.  Once  he  placed  a  piece  of 
money  in  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  and  a  year  afterward 
found  the  money  still  lying  in  the  same  place,  while,  he 
said,  if  it  had  beeh  left  on  his  table,  it  would  have  dis- 
appeared with  the  first  Indian  who  entered. 

The  padre's  whole  manner  was  now  changed ;  his 
keen  satire  and  his  laugh  were  gone.  There  was  in- 
terest enough  about  the  Indians  to  occupy  the  mind 
and  excite  the  imagination  of  one  who  laughed  at  ev- 
erything else  in  the  world ;  and  his  enthusiasm,  like 
his  laugh,  was  infectious.  Notwithstanding  our  haste 
to  reach  Palenque,  we  felt  a  strong  desire  to  track 
them  in  the  solitude  of  their  mountains  and  deep  ra- 
vines, and  watch  them  in  the  observance  of  -their  idol- 
atrous rites  ;  but  the  padre  did  not  give  us  any  encour- 
agement. In  fact,  he  opposed  our  remaining  another 
day,  even  to  visit  the  cave  of  sculls.  He  made  no 
apology  for  hurrying  us  away.  He  lived  in  unbroken 
solitude,  in  a  monotonous  routine  of  occupations,  and 
the  visit  of  a  stranger  was  to  him  an  event  most  wel- 
come; but  there  was  danger  in  our  remaining.  The 

ANOTHER     RUINED     CITY.  193 

Indians  were  in  an  inflammable  state ;  they  were  al- 
ready inquiring  what  we  came  there  for,  and  he  could 
not  answer  for  our  safety.  In  a  few  months,  perhaps, 
the  excitement  might  pass  away,  and  then  we  could  re- 
turn. He  loved  the  subjects  we  took  interest  in,  and 
would  join  us  in  all  our  expeditions,  and  aid  us  with  all 
his  influence. 

And  the  padre's  knowledge  was  not  confined  to  his 
own  immediate  neighbourhood.  His  first  curacy  was 
at  Coban,  in  the  province  of  Vera  Paz ;  and  he  told  us 
that  four  leagues  from  that  place  was  another  ancient 
city,  as  large  as  Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche,  deserted  and 
desolate,  and  almost  as  perfect  as  when  evacuated  by 
its  inhabitants.  He  had  wandered  through  its  silent 
streets  and  over  its  gigantic  buildings,  and  its  palace 
was  as  entire  as  that  of  Quichfe  when  he  first  saw  it. 
This  is  within  two  hundred  miles  of  Guatimala,  and  in 
a  district  of  country  not  disturbed  by  war  ;  yet,  with  all 
our  inquiries,  we  had  heard  nothing  of  it.  And  now, 
the  information  really  grieved  us.  Going  to  the  place 
would  add  eight  hundred  miles  to  our  journey.  Our 
plans  were  fixed,  our  time  already  limited ;  and  in  that 
wild  country  and  its  unsettled  state,  we  had  supersti- 
tious apprehensions  that  it  was  ominous  to  return.  My 
impression,  however,  of  the  existence  of  such  a  city  is 
most  strong.  I  do  most  earnestly  hope  that  some  fu- 
ture traveller  will  visit  it.  He  will  not  hear  of  it  even 
at  Guatimala,  and  perhaps  will  be  told  that  it  does  not 
exist.  Nevertheless,  let  him  seek  for  it ;  and  if  he  do 
find  it,  experience  sensations  which  seldom  fall  to  the 
lot  of  man. 

But  the  padre  told  us  more ;  something  that  increas- 
ed our  excitement  to  the  highest  pitch.  On  the  other 
side  of  the  great  traversing  range  of  Cordilleras  lies  the 

VOL.  II.— B  B  17 

194  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

district  of  Vera  Paz,  once  called  Tierra  de  Guerra,  01 
land  of  war,  from  the  warlike  character  of  its  aborigi- 
nal inhabitants.  Three  times  the  Spaniards  were  driven 
back  in  their  attempts  to  conquer  it.  Las  Casas,  vicar 
of  the  convent  of  the  Dominican  order  in  the  city  of 
Guatimala,  mourning  over  the  bloodshed  caused  by 
what  was  called  converting  the  Indians  to  Christianity, 
wrote  a  treatise  to  prove  that  Divine  Providence  had 
instituted  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel  as  the  only 
means  of  conversion  to  the  Christian  faith;  that  war 
could  not  with  justice  be  made  upon  those  who  had 
never  committed  any  aggressions  against  Christians; 
and  that  to  harass  and  destroy  the  Indians  was  to  pre- 
vent the  accomplishing  of  this  desired  object.  This 
doctrine  he  preached  from  the  pulpit,  and  enforced  in 
private  assemblies.  He  was  laughed  at,  ridiculed,  and 
eneeringly  advisecl  to  put  his  theory  in  practice.  Un- 
disturbed by  this  mockery,  he  accepted  the  proposal, 
choosing  as  the  field  of  his  operations  the  unconquerable 
district  called  Tierra  de  Guerra,  and  made  an  arrange- 
ment that  no  Spaniards  should  be  permitted  to  reside  in 
that  country  for  five  years.  This  agreed  upon,  the 
Dominicans  composed  some  hymns  in  the  Q,uich6  lan- 
guage, describing  the  creation  of  the  world,  the  fall  of 
Adam,  the  redemption  of  mankind,  and  the  principal 
mysteries  of  the  life,  passion,  and  death  of  our  Saviour. 
These  were  learned  by  some  Indians  who  traded  with 
the  Quiches,  and  a  principal  cacique  of  the  country, 
afterward  called  Don  Juan,  having  heard  them  sung, 
asked  those  who  had  repeated  them  to  explain  in  detail 
the  meaning  of  things  so  new  to  him.  The  Indians 
excused  themselves,  saying  that  they  could  only  be  ex- 
plained by  the  fathers  who  had  taught  them.  The  ca- 
cique sent  one  of  his  brothers  with  many  presents,  to 

A     LIVING     CITY.  195 

entreat  that  they  would  come  and  make  him  acquainted 
with  what  was  contained  in  the  songs  of  the  Indian 
merchants.  A  single  Dominican  friar  returned  with  the 
ambassador,  and  the  cacique,  having  been  made  to 
comprehend  the  mysteries  of  the  new  faith,  burned  his 
idols  and  preached  Christianity  to  his  own  subjects. 
Las  Casas  and  another  associate  followed,  and,  like  the 
apostles  of  old,  without  scrip  or  staff,  effected  what 
Spanish  arms  could  not,  bringing  a  portion  of  the  Land 
of  War  to  the  Christian  faith.  The  rest  of  the  Tierra 
de  Gueira  never  was  conquered ;  and  at  this  day  the 
northeastern  section,  bounded  by  the  range  of  the  Cor- 
dilleras and  the  State  of  Chiapas,  is  occupied  by  Can- 
dones  or  unbaptized  Indians,  who  live  as  their  fathers 
did,  acknowledging  no  submission  to  the  Spaniards,  and 
the  government  of  Central  America  does  not  pretend 
to  exercise  any  control  over  them.  But  the  thing  that 
roused  us  was  the  assertion  by  the  padre  that,  four  days 
on  the  road  to  Mexico,  on  the  other  side  of  the  great 
sierra,  was  a  living  city,  large  and  populous,  occupied 
by  Indians,  precisely  in  the  same  state  as  before  the 
discovery  of  America.  He  had  heard  of  it  many  years 
before  at  the  village  of  Chajul,  and  was  told  by  the  vil- 
lagers that  from  the  topmost  ridge  of  the  sierra  this  city 
was  distinctly  visible.  He  was  then  young,  and  with 
much  labour  climbed  to  the  naked  summit  of  the  sierra, 
from  which,  at  a  height  of  ten  or  twelve  thousand  feet,  he 
looked  over  an  immense  plain  extending  to  Yucatan  and 
the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  saw  at  a  great  distance  a  large 
city  spread  over  a  great  space,  and  with  turrets  white 
and  glittering  in  the  sun.  The  traditionary  account  of 
the  Indians  of  Chajul  is,  that  no  white  man  has  ever 
reached  this  city ;  that  the  inhabitants  speak  the  Maya 
language,  are  aware  that  a  race  of  strangers  has  con- 

196  INCIDENTS    or    TRAVEL. 

quered  the  whole  country  around,  and  murder  any 
white  man  who  attempts  to  enter  their  territory.  They 
have  no  coin  or  other  circulating  medium ;  no  horses, 
cattle,  mules,  or  other  domestic  animals  except  fowls, 
and  the  cocks  they  keep  under  ground  to  prevent  their 
crowing  being  heard. 

There  was  a  wild  novelty — something  that  touched 
the  imagination — in  every  step  of  our  journey  in  that 
country;  the  old  padre,  in  the  deep  stillness  of  the 
dimly-lighted  convent,  with  his  long  black  coat  like  a 
robe,  and  his  flashing  eye,  called  up  an  image  of  the 
bold  and  resolute  priests  who  accompanied  the  armies 
of  the  conquerors  ;  and  as  he  drew  a  map  on  the  table, 
and  pointed  out  the  sierra  to  the  top  of  which  he  had 
climbed,  and  the  position  of  the  mysterious  city,  the  in- 
terest awakened  in  us  was  the  most  thrilling  I  ever  ex- 
perienced. One  look  at  that  city  was  worth  ten  years 
of  an  every-day  life.  If  he  is  right,  a  place  is  left  where 
Indians  and  an  Indian  city  exist  as  Cortez  and  Alvarado 
found  them ;  there  are  living  men  who  can  solve  the 
mystery  that  hangs  over  the  ruined  cities  of  America ; 
perhaps  who  can  go  to  Copan  and  read  the  inscriptions 
on  its  monuments.  No  subject  more  exciting  and  at- 
tractive presents  itself  to  my  mind,  and  the  deep  im- 
pression of  that  night  will  never  be  effaced. 

Can  it  be  true  ?  Being  now  in  my  sober  senses,  I  do 
verily  believe  there  is  much  ground  to  suppose  that  what 
the  padre  told  us  is  authentic.  That  the  region  referred 
to  does  not  acknowledge  the  government  of  Guatimala, 
has  never  been  explored,  and  that  no  white  man  ever 
pretends  to  enter  it,  I  am  satisfied.  From  other  sour- 
ces we  heard  that  from  that  sierra  a  large  ruined  city 
was  visible,  and  we  were  told  of  another  person  who 
had  climbed  to  the  top  of  the  sierra,  but,  on  account  of 

A     FIELD     FOR     FUTURE     ENTERPRISE.       197 

the  dense  cloud  resting  upon  it,  had  been  unable  to  see 
anything.  At  all  events,  the  belief  at  the  village  of 
Chajul  is  general,  and  a  curiosity  is  roused  that  burns 
to  be  satisfied.  We  had  a  craving  desire  to  reach  the 
mysterious  city.  No  man,  even  if  willing  to  peril  his 
life,  could  undertake  the  enterprise  with  any  hope  of 
success,  without  hovering  for  one  or  two  years  on  the 
borders  of  the  country,  studying  the  language  and  char- 
acter of  the  adjoining  Indians,  and  making  acquaintance 
with  some  of  the  natives.  Five  hundred  men  could 
probably  march  directly  to  the  city,  and  the  invasion 
would  be  more  justifiable  than  any  ever  made  by  the 
Spaniards ;  but  the  government  is  too  much  occupied 
with  its  own  wars,  and  the  knowledge  could  not  be 
procured  except  at  the  price  of  blood.  Two  young 
men  of  good  constitution,  and  who  could  afford  to 
spare  five  years,  might  succeed.  If  the  object  of  search 
prove  a  phantom,  in  the  wild  scenes  of  a  new  and  un- 
explored country  there  are  other  objects  of  interest ; 
but  if  real,  besides  the  glorious  excitement  of  such  a 
novelty,  they  will  have  something  .to  look  back  upon 
through  life.  As  to  the  dangers,  these  are  always  mag- 
nified, and,  in  general,  peril  is  discovered  soon  enough 
for  escape.  But  in  all  probability,  if  any  discovery  is 
ever  made  it  will  be  by  the  padres.  As  for  ourselves, 
to  attempt  it  alone,  ignorant  of  the  language,  and  with 
mozos  who  were  a  constant  annoyance  to  us,  was  out 
of  the  question.  The  most  we  thought  of  was  a  climb 
to  the  top  of  the  sierra,  thence  to  look  down  upon  the 
mysterious  city ;  but  we  had  difficulties  enough  in  the 
road  before  us ;  it  would  add  ten  days  to  a  journey  al- 
ready almost  appalling  in  prospective ;  for  days  the  si- 
erra might  be  covered  with  clouds ;  in  attempting  too 
much  we  might  lose  all ;  Palenque  was  our  great  point, 


and  we  determined  not  to  be  diverted  from  the  course 
we  had  marked  out. 

The  next  morning  we  had  one  painful  moment  with 
the  cura,  and  that  was  the  moment  of  parting.  He  was 
then  calm  and  kind,  his  irresistible  laugh  and  his  en- 
thusiasm all  gone.  We  had  one  village  to  pass  at 
which  he  told  us  the  Indians  were  bad,  for  which  rea- 
son he  gave  us  a  letter  to  the  justitia ;  and  in  the  kind- 
ness of  his  heart  insisted  on  my  accepting  one  of  his 
beautiful  quezales. 

As  this  was  Holy  Week,  we  had  great  difficulty  in 
procuring  a  guide.     None  of  the  Indians  wished  to 
leave  the  village,  and  the  alcalde  told  an  alguazil  to 
take  a  man  out  of  prison.     After  a  parley  with  the  in- 
mates through  the  grating,  one  was  selected,  but  kept 
in  confinement  till  the  moment  of  starting,  when  the  al- 
guazil opened  the  door  and  let  him  out,  our  roll  of 
luggage  was  put  on  his  back,  and  he  set  off.     The  bat- 
tered soldier  accompanied  us  a  short  distance,  and  Bobon 
went  before,  carrying  on  a  stick  the  royal  bird  of  Quiche. 
Crossing  the  plain  and  the  ravine  on  which  the  city 
stood,  we  ascended  a  mountain  in  the  rear,  command- 
ing a  magnificent  view  of  the  plain  of  Q,uich£,  and  de- 
scending on   the  other  side,   at  the   distance   of  two 
leagues  reached  the  village  of  San  Pedro.     A  thatched 
church,  with  a  cross  before  it,  stood  near  the  road,  and 
the  huts  of  the  village  were  a  little  in  the  rear.     The 
padre  had  told  us  that  the  Indians  of  this  place  were 
"  muy  malosj"  very  bad  ;  and  as  our  guide,  when  he  re- 
turned, had  to  be  locked  up  in  prison,  to  avoid  the  ne- 
cessity of  stopping  we  tried  to  induce  him  to  continue ; 
but  he  dropped  his  load  at  the  foot  of  the  cross,  and 
ran  back   in  such  haste   that  he  left  behind  his  rag- 
ged chamar.     The  justitia  was  a  Mestitzo,  who  sent  for 

VIRTUE     OF     A    PASSPORT.  199 

the  alcalde,  and  presently  that  worthy  trotted  down 
with  six  alguazils,  marching  in  single  file,  all  with 
wands  in  their  hands,  and  dressed  in  handsome  cloth 
cloaks,  the  holyday  costume  for  the  Holy  Week.  We 
told  them  that  we  wanted  a  guide,  and  the  whole  six 
set  off  to  look  for  one.  In  about  ten  minutes  they  re- 
turned single  file,  exactly  on  the  same  trot  as  before, 
and  said  they  could  not  find  any ;  the  whole  week  was 
holyday,  and  no  one  wanted  to  leave  home.  I  showed 
Carrera's  passport,  and  told  the  justitia  he  must  go  him- 
self, or  send  one  of  his  alguazils,  and  they  set  off  again 
in  pursuit.  After  waiting  a  little  while,  I  walked  to  the 
top  of  a  hill  near  by,  and  saw  them  all  seated  below, 
apparently  waiting  for  me  to  go.  As  soon  as  they  saw 
me  they  ran  back  in  a  body  to  repeat  that  they  could 
not  find  a  guide.  I  offered  them  double  price,  but  they 
were  immovable ;  and  feeling  rather  uncertain  what 
turn  things  might  take,  I  talked  largely  of  Carrera's 
vengeance,  not  contenting  myself  with  turning  them  out 
of  office,  but  taking  off  their  heads  at  once.  After  a 
few  moments'  consultation  they  all  rose  quietly  ;  one 
doffed  his  dignity  and  dress,  the  rest  rolled  up  the  cargo, 
and  throwing  it  on  his  bare  back,  placed  the  band 
across  his  forehead,  and  set  him  off  on  a  run.  We  follow- 
ed, the  secretary  begging  me  to  write  to  Carrera  that  it 
was  not  through  his  fault  I  was  kept  waiting,  and  that  he 
would  have  been  my  guide  himself  if  I  had  not  found 
another.  At  a  short  distance  another  alguazil,  by  a 
cross  cut,  intercepted  and  relieved  the  first,  and  they 
ran  so  fast  that  on  the  rough  road  we  could  not  keep  up 
with  them. 

The  road  was  indeed  rough  and  wild  beyond  all 
description ;  and  very  soon  we  reached  another  im- 
mense ravine,  descended  it,  and  commenced  an  ascent 


on   the    opposite   side,  which   occupied    three    hours. 
Through  openings  in  the  woods  we  looked  down  pre- 
cipices   one    or   two    thousand   feet   deep,    while    the 
mountain  side  was  still  higher  above  us.     The  whole 
mountain  was   clothed  with  luxuriant  vegetation,  and 
though  wanting  the  rocky,  savage  grandeur  of  Alpine 
scenery,  at  every  turn  the  view  was  sublime.     As  we 
climbed  up  we  met  a  few  Indians  who  could  speak  no 
language  but  their  own,  and  reaching  the  top,  saw  a 
wretched  spectacle  of  the  beings  made  in  God's  image. 
A  drunken  Indian  was  lying  on  the  ground,  his  face 
cut  with  a  machete,  and  weltering  in  his  blood ;  and  a 
drunken  woman  was  crying  over  him.     Our  Indians 
stopped  and  spoke  to  them,  but  we  could  not  under- 
stand what  they  said.     At  about  three  o'clock  we  emer- 
ged from  the  woods,  and  very  soon  saw  Totonicapan, 
at  a  great  distance,  and  far  below  us,  on  a  magnificent 
plain,  with  a  high  table  of  land  behind  it,  a  range  of 
mountains  springing  from  the  table,  and  rising  above 
them  the  Volcano  of  Quezaltenango.     The  town  was 
spread  over  a  large  space,  and  the  flat  roofs  of  the 
houses  seemed  one  huge  covering,  broken  only  by  the 
steeple  of  the  church.     We  descended  the  mountain  to 
the  banks  of  a  beautiful  stream,  along  which  Indian 
women  were  washing ;    and  following  it,  entered  the 
town,  and  rode  up  to  the  house  of  the  corregidor,  Don 
Jos6  Azmitia.     Our  luggage  had  arrived  safely,  and  in 
a  few  minutes  our  men  presented  themselves  to  receive 

Much  might  be  said  of  Totonicapan  as  the  head  of  a 
department,  and  surrounded  by  mountains  visible  on  all 
sides  from  the  plaza ;  but  I  stop  only  to  record  an  event. 
All  along,  with  the  letters  to  corregidors,  the  passport 
of  Carrera,  and  the  letter  of  the  archbishop,  our  road 

A     REAL     DINNER.  201 

had  been  a  sort  of  triumphal  march ;  but  at  this  place 
we  dined,  i.  e.,  we  had  a  dinner.  The  reader  may  re- 
member that  in  Costa  Rica  I  promised  to  offend  but 
once  more  by  referring  to  such  a  circumstance.  That 
time  has  come,  and  I  should  consider  myself  an  ingrate 
if  I  omitted  to  mention  it.  We  were  kept  waiting  per- 
haps two  hours,  and  we  had  not  eaten  anything  in 
more  than  twelve.  We  had  clambered  over  terrible 
mountains  ;  and  at  six  o'clock,  on  invitation,  with  hands 
and  faces  washed,  and  in  dress-coats,  sat  down  with  the 
corregidor.  Courses  came  regularly  and  in  right  suc- 
cession. Servants  were  well  trained,  and  our  host  did 
the  honours  as  if  he  was  used  to  the  same  thing  every 
day.  But  it  was  not  so  with  us.  Like  Rittmaster  Du- 
gald  Dalgetty,  we  ate  very  fast  and  very  long,  on  his 
principle  deeming  it  the  duty  of  every  commander  of  a 
fortress,  on  all  occasions  which  offer,  to  secure  as  much 
munition  and  vivas  as  their  magazines  can  possibly  hold. 

We  were  again  on  the  line  of  Carrera's  operations ; 
the  place  was  alive  with  apprehensions;  white  men 
were  trembling  for  their  lives ;  and  I  advised  our  host 
to  leave  the  country  and  come  to  the  United  States. 

The  next  morning  we  breakfasted  with  him,  and  at 
eleven  o'clock,  while  a  procession  was  forming  in  the 
plaza,  we  started  for  Quezaltenango,  descended  a  ra- 
vine commanding  at  every  point  a  beautiful  view,  as- 
cended a  mountain,  from  which  we  looked  back  upon 
the  plain- and  town  of  Totonicapan,  and  on  the  top  en- 
tered a  magnificent  plain,  cultivated  with  cornfields  and 
dotted  with  numerous  flocks  of  sheep,  the  first  we  had 
seen  in  the  country ;  on  both  sides  of  the  road  were 
hedges  of  gigantic  aloes.  In  one  place  we  counted  up- 
ward of  two  hundred  in  full  bloom.  In  the  middle  of 
the  plain,  at  the  distance  of  two  and  a  half  leagues,  we 

VOL.  II.—  C  c 


crossed,  on  a  rude  bridge  of  logs,  a  broad  river,  memo- 
rable for  the  killed  and  wounded  thrown  into  it  in  Alva- 
rado's  battle  with  the  Quich6  Indians,  and  called  the 
"River  of  Blood."  Two  leagues  beyond  we  came  in 
sight  of  Quezaltenango,  standing  at  the  foot  of  a  great 
range  of  mountains,  surmounted  by  a  rent  volcano  con- 
stantly emitting  smoke,  and  before  it  a  mountain  ridge 
of  lava,  which,  if  it  had  taken  its  course  toward  the  city, 
would  have  buried  it  like  Herculaneum  and  Pompeii. 



Quezaltenango. — Account  of  it. — Conversion  of  the  Inhabitants  to  Christianity. 
—Appearance  of  the  City. — The  Convent. — Insurrection. — Carrera's  March 
upon  Quezaltenango. — His  Treatment  of  the  Inhabitants. — Preparations  for 
Holy  Week.— The  Church. — A  Procession. — Good  Friday.— Celebration  of  the 
Resurrection. — Opening  Ceremony. — The  Crucifixion. — A  Sermon.— Descent 
from  the  Cross.— Grand  Procession. — Church  of  El  Calvario. — The  Case  of 
the  Cura. — Warm  Springs  of  Almolonga. 

WE  were  again  on  classic  soil.  The  reader  perhaps 
requires  to  be  reminded  that  the  city  stands  on  the  site  of 
the  ancient  Xelahuh,  next  to  Utatlan  the  largest  city  in 
Quiche,  the  word  Xelahuh  meaning  "  under  the  govern- 
ment of  ten  ;"  that  is,  it  was  governed  by  ten  principal 
captains,  each  captain  presiding  over  eight  thousand 
dwellings,  in  all  eighty  thousand,  and  containing,  ac- 
cording to  Fuentes,  more  than  three  hundred  thousand 
inhabitants  ;  that  on  the  defeat  of  Tecum  Umam  by  Al- 
varado,  the  inhabitants  abandoned  the  city,  and  fled  to 
their  ancient  fortresses,  Excansel  the  volcano,  and  Cek- 
xak,  another  mountain  adjoining ;  that  the  Spaniards  en- 
tered the  deserted  city,  and,  according  to  a  manuscript 
found  in  the  village  of  San  Andres  Xecul,  their  videttes 
captured  the  four  celebrated  caciques,  whose  names,  the 
reader  doubtless  remembers,  were  Calel  Kalek,  Ahpop- 
gueham,  Calelahan,  and  Calelaboy ;  the  Spanish  rec- 
ords say  that  they  fell  on  their  knees  before  Pedro  Al- 
varado,  while  a  priest  explained  to  them  the  nature  of 
the  Christian  faith,  and  they  declared  themselves  ready 
to  embrace  it.  Two  of  them  were  retained  as  hostages, 
and  the  others  sent  back  to  the  fortresses,  who  returned 
with  such  multitudes  of  Indians  ready  to  be  baptized, 
that  the  priests,  from  sheer  fatigue,  could  no  longer  lift 
their  arms  to  perform  the  ceremony. 

204  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

As  we  approached,  seven  towering  churches  showed 
that  the  religion  so  hastily  adopted  had  not  died  away. 
In  a  few  minutes  we  entered  the  city.  The  streets 
were  handsomely  paved,  and  the  houses  picturesque  in 
architecture ;  the  cabildo  had  two  stories  and  a  corri- 
dor. The  Cathedral,  with  its  facade  richly  decorated, 
was  grand  and  imposing.  The  plaza  was  paved  with 
stone,  having  a  fine  fountain  in  the  centre,  and  com- 
manding a  magnificent  view  of  the  volcano  and  mount- 
ains around.  It  was  the  day  before  Good  Friday  ;  the 
streets  and  plaza  were  crowded  with  people  in  their 
best  attire,  the  Indians  wearing  large  black  cloaks, 
with  broad-brimmed  felt  sombreros,  and  the  women  a 
white  frock,  covering  the  head  except  an  oblong  open- 
ing for  the  face ;  some  wore  a  sort  of  turban  of  red 
cord  plaited  with  the  hair.  The  bells  were  hushed, 
and  wooden  clappers  sounded  in  their  stead.  As  we 
rode  through,  armed  to  the  teeth,  the  crowd  made  way 
in  silence.  We  passed  the  door  of  the  church,  and  en- 
tered the  great  gate  of  the  convent.  The  cura  was 
absent  at  the  moment,  but  a  respectable-looking  ser- 
vant-woman received  us  in  a  manner  that  assured  us  of 
a  welcome  from  her  master.  There  was,  however,  an 
air  of  excitement  and  trepidation  in  the  whole  house- 
hold, and  it  was  not  long  before  the  good  woman  un- 
burdened herself  of  matters  fearfully  impressed  upon 
her  mind. 

After  chocolate  we  went  to  the  corregidor,  to  whom 
we  presented  our  letters  from  the  government  and  Car- 
rera's  passport.  He  was  one  of  Morazan's  expulsados, 
a  fine,  military-looking  man,  but,  as  he  told  us,  not  a 
soldier  by  profession  ;  he  was  in  office  by  accident,  and 
exceedingly  anxious  to  lay  down  his  command ;  in  < 
deed,  his  brief  service  had  been  no  sinecure.  He  in 


troduced  us  to  Don  Juan  Lavanigna,  an  Italian  from 
Genoa,  banished  on  account  of  a  revolution  headed  by 
the  present  king,  then  heir  apparent,  and  intended  to 
put  him  on  the  throne,  but  out  of  which  he  basely  drew 
himself,  leaving  his  followers  to  their  fate.  How  the 
signer  found  his  way  to  this  place  I  did  not  learn,  but 
he  had  not  found  peace  ;  and,  if  I  am  not  deceived,  he 
was  as  anxious  to  get  out  of  it  as  ever  he  was  to  leave 

On  our  return  to  the  convent  we  found  the  cura,  who 
gave  us  personally  the  welcome  assured  to  us  by  his 
housekeeper.  With  him  was  a  respectable-looking  In- 
dian, bearing  the  imposing  title  of  Gobernador,  being 
the  Indian  alcalde ;  and  it  was  rather  singular  that,  in 
an  hour  after  our  arrival  at  Quezaltenango,  we  had  be- 
come acquainted  with  the  four  surviving  victims  of  Car- 
rera's  wrath,  all  of  whom  had  narrowly  escaped  death 
at  the  time  of  the  outrage,  the  rumour  of  which  reached 
us  at  Guatimala.  The  place  was  still  quivering  under 
the  shock  of  that  event.  We  had  heard  many  of  the 
particulars  on  the  road,  and  in  Quezaltenango,  except 
the  parties  concerned,  no  one  could  speak  of  anything 

On  the  first  entry  of  Morazan's  soldiers  into  the  plaza 
at  Guatimala,  in  an  unfortunate  moment,  a  courier  was 
sent  to  Quezaltenango  to  announce  the  capture  of  the 
city.  The  effect  there  was  immediate  and  decided; 
the  people  rose  upon  the  garrison  left  by  Carrera, 
and  required  them  to  lay  down  their  arms.  The  cor- 
regidor,  not  wishing  to  fire  upon  the  townsmen,  and 
finding  it  would  be  impossible  with  his  small  force  to 
repress  the  insurrection,  by  the  advice  of  the  cura  and 
Don  Juan  Lavanigna,  to  prevent  bloodshed  and  a  gen- 
eral massacre,  induced  the  soldiers  to  lay  down  their 



arms  and  leave  the  town.  The  same  night  the  muni- 
cipality, without  his  knowledge,  nominated  Don  Juan 
Lavanigna  as  commandant.  He  refused  to  serve  ;  but 
the  town  was  in  a  violent  state  of  excitement,  and  they 
urged  him  to  accept  for  that  night  only,  representing 
that  if  he  did  not  the  fury  of  the  populace  would  be  di- 
rected against  him.  The  same  night  they  made  a  pro- 
nunciamento  in  favour  of  Morazan,  and  addressed  a  let- 
ter of  congratulation  to  him,  which  they  despatched  im- 
mediately by  an  Indian  courier.  It  will  be  remember- 
ed, however,  that  in  the  mean  time  Morazan  had  been 
driven  out  of  Guatimala,  and  that  Carrera  had  pursued 
him  in  his  flight.  At  the  Antigua  the  latter  met  a  dis- 
armed sergeant,  who  informed  him  of  the  proceedings 
at  Quezaltenango,  whereupon,  abandoning  his  pursuit 
of  Morazan,  he  marched  directly  thither.  Early  intel- 
ligence was  received  of  his  approach,  and  the  corregidor, 
the  cura,  and  Don  Juan  Lavanigna  were  sent  as  a  dep- 
utation to  receive  him.  They  met  him  at  Totonicapan. 
Carrera  had  heard  on  the  road  of  their  agency  in  indu- 
cing the  soldiers  to  surrender  their  arms,  and  his  first 
greeting  was  a  furious  declaration  that  their  heads  should 
lie  at  that  place ;  laying  aside  his  fanaticism  and  re- 
spect for  the  priests,  he  broke  out  against  the  cura  in 
particular,  who,  he  said,  was  a  relative  of  Morazan. 
The  cura  said  he  was  not  a  relative,  but  only  a  coun- 
tryman (which  in  that  region  means  a  townsman),  and 
could  not  help  the  place  of  his  birth  ;  but  Carrera  forth- 
with ordered  four  soldiers  to  remove  him  a  few  paces 
and  shoot  him  on  the  spot.  The  gobernador,  the  old 
Indian  referred  to,  threw  himself  on  his  knees  and 
begged  the  cura's  life ;  but  Carrera  drew  his  sword 
and  struck  the  Indian  twice  across  the  shoulder,  and  the 
wounds  were  stil]  unhealed  when  we  saw  him ;  but  he 


desisted  from  his  immediate  purpose  of  shooting  the 
cura,  and  delivered  him  over  to  the  soldiers.  Don 
Juan  Lavanigna  was  saved  by  Carrera's  secretary,  who 
exhibited  in  El  Tiempo,  the  government  paper  of  Gua- 
timala,  an  extract  from  a  letter  written  by  Don  Juan  to 
a  friend  in  Guatimala,  praising  Carrera's  deportment  on 
his  previous  entry  into  Quezaltenango,  and  the  disci- 
pline and  good  behaviour  of  his  troops. 

Early  the  next  morning  Carrera  marched  into  Quez- 
altenango,  with  the  cura  and  Don  Juan  as  prisoners. 
The  municipality  waited  upon  him  in  the  plaza  ;  but,  un- 
happily, the  Indian  intrusted  with  the  letter  to  Morazan 
had  loitered  in  the  town,  and  at  this  unfortunate  mo- 
ment presented  it  to  Carrera.  Before  his  secretary  had 
finished  reading  it,  Carrera,  in  a  transport  of  fury, 
drew  his  sword  to  kill  them  on  the  spot  with  his  own 
hand,  wounded  Molina,  the  alcalde-mayor,  and  two  oth- 
er members  of  the  municipality,  but  checked  himself 
and  ordered  the  soldiers  to  seize  them.  He  then  rode 
to  the  corregidor,  where  he  again  broke  out  into  fury, 
and  drew  his  sword  upon  him.  A  woman  in  the  room 
threw  herself  before  the  corregidor,  and  Carrera  struck 
around  her  several  times,  but  finally  checked  himself 
again,  and  ordered  the  corregidor  to  be  shot  unless 
he  raised  five  thousand  dollars  by  contributions  upon 
the  town.  Don  Juan  and  the  cura  he  had  locked  up  in 
a  room  with  the  threat  to  shoot  them  at  five  o'clock  that 
afternoon  unless  they  paid  him  one  thousand  dollars 
each,  and  the  former  two  hundred,  and  the  latter  one 
hundred  to  his  secretary.  Don  Juan  was  the  principal 
merchant  in  the  town,  but  even  for  him  it  was  difficult 
to  raise  that  sum.  The  poor  cura  told  Carrera  that  he 
was  not  worth  a  cent  in  the  world  except  his  furniture 
and  books.  No  one  was  allowed  to  visit  him  except 


the  old  housekeeper  who  first  told  us  the  story.  Many 
of  his  friends  had  fled  or  hidden  themselves  away,  and 
the  old  housekeeper  ran  from  place  to  place  with  notes 
written  by  him,  begging  five  dollars,  ten  dollars,  any- 
thing she  could  get.  One  old  lady  sent  him  a  hundred 
dollars.  At  four  o'clock,  with  all  his  efforts,  he  had 
raised  but  seven  hundred  dollars ;  but,  after  undergo- 
ing all  the  mental  agonies  of  death,  when  the  cura  had 
given  up  all  hope,  Don  Juan,  who  had  been  two  hours 
at  liberty,  made  up  the  deficiency,  and  he  was  released. 
The  next  morning  Carrera  sent  to  Don  Juan  to  bor- 
row his  shaving  apparatus,  and  Don  Juan  took  them 
over  himself.  He  had  always  been  on  good  terms  with 
Carrera,  and  the  latter  asked  him  if  he  had  got  over  his 
fright,  talking  with  him  as  familiarly  as  if  nothing  had 
happened.  Shortly  afterward  he  was  seen  at  the  win- 
dow playing  on  a  guitar ;  and  in  an  hour  thereafter, 
eighteen  members  of  the  municipality,  without  the 
slightest  form  of  trial,  not  even  a  drum-head  court-mar- 
tial, were  taken  out  into  the  plaza  and  shot.  They 
were  all  the  very  first  men  in  Quezaltenango  ;  and  Mo- 
lina, the  alcalde-mayor,  in  family,  position,  and  charac- 
ter was  second  to  no  other  in  the  republic.  His  wife 
was  clinging  to  Carrera's  knees,  and  begging  for  his 
life  when  he  passed  with  a  file  of  soldiers.  She  scream- 
ed "  Robertito ;"  he  looked  at  her,  but  did  not  speak. 
She  shrieked  and  fainted,  and  before  she  recovered  her 
husband  was  dead.  He  was  taken  around  the  corner 
of  the  house,  seated  on  a  stone,  and  despatched  at  once. 
The  others  were  seated  in  the  same  place,  one  at  a 
time  ;  the  stone  and  the  wall  of  the  house  were  still  red 
with  their  blood.  I  was  told  that  Carrera  shed  tears 
for  the  death  of  the  first  two,  but  for  the  rest  he  said  he 
did  not  care.  Heretofore,  in  all  their  revolutions,  there 

THE     CHURCH.  209 

had  been  some  show  of  regard  for  the  tribunals  of  jus- 
tice, and  the  horror  of  the  citizens  at  this  lawless  mur- 
der of  their  best  men  cannot  be  conceived.  The  facts 
were  notorious  to  everybody  in  Quezaltenango.  We 
heard  them,  with  but  little  variation  of  detail,  from  more 
than  a  dozen  different  persons. 

Having  consummated  this  enormity,  Carrera  returned 
to  Guatimala,  and  the  place  had  not  yet  recovered  from 
its  consternation.  It  was  considered  a  blow  at  the 
whites,  and  all  feared  the  horrors  of  a  war  of  castes.  I 
have  avoided  speaking  harshly  of  Carrera  when  I  could. 
I  consider  myself  under  personal  obligations  to  him, 
and  without  his  protection  I  never  could  have  travelled 
through  the  country ;  but  it  is  difficult  to  suppress  the 
feelings  of  indignation  excited  against  the  government, 
which,  conscious  of  the  enormity  of  his  conduct  and 
of  his  utter  contempt  for  them,  never  dared  call  him  to 
account,  and  now  cajoles  and  courts  him,  sustaining  it- 
self in  power  by  his  favour  alone. 

To  return  to  the  cura :  he  was  about  forty-five,  tall, 
stout,  and  remarkably  fine-looking ;  he  had  several  cu- 
racies under  his  charge,  and  next  to  a  canonigo's,  his 
position  was  the  highest  in  the  country ;  but  it  had  its 
labours.  He  was  at  that  .time  engrossed  with  the  cere- 
monies of  the  Holy  Week,  and  in  the  evening  we  ac- 
companied him  to  the  church.  At  the  door  the  coup 
(Tail  of  the  interior  was  most  striking.  The  church 
was  two  hundred  and  fifty  feet  in  length,  spacious  and 
lofty,  richly  decorated  with  pictures  and  sculptured  or- 
naments, blazing  with  lights,  and  crowded  with  In- 
dians. On  each  side  of  the  door  was  a  grating,  behind 
which  stood  an  Indian  to  receive  offerings.  The  floor 
was  strewed  with  pine-leaves.  On  the  left  was  the  fig- 
ure of  a  dead  Christ  on  a  bier,  upon  which  every  woman 

VOL.  II.— D  D 


who  entered  threw  a  handful  of  roses,  and  near  it  stood 
an  Indian  to  receive  money.  Opposite,  behind  an  iron 
grating,  was  the  figure  of  Christ  bearing  the  cross,  the 
eyes  bandaged,  and  large  silver  chains  attached  to  the 
arms  and  other  parts  of  the  body,  and  fastened  to  the 
iron  bars.  Here,  too,  stood  an  Indian  to  receive  con- 
tributions. The  altar  was  beautiful  in  design  and  dec- 
orations, consisting  of  two  rows  of  Ionic  columns,  one 
above  another,  gilded,  surmounted  by  a  golden  glory, 
and  lighted  by  candles  ten  feet  high.  Under  the  pulpit 
was  a  piano.  After  a  stroll  around  the  church,  the 
cura  led  us  to  seats  under  the  pulpit.  He  asked  us  to 
give  them  some  of  the  airs  of  our  country,  and  then 
himself  sat  down  at  the  piano.  On  Mr.  C.'s  suggesting 
that  the  tune  was  from  one  of  Rossini's  operas,  he  said 
that  this  was  hardly  proper  for  the  occasion,  and  chan- 
ged it. 

At  about  ten  o'clock  the  crowd  in  the  church  formed 
into  a  procession,  and  Mr.  C.  and  I  went  out  and  took 
a  position  at  the  corner  of  a  street  to  see  it  pass.  It  was 
headed  by  Indians,  two  abreast,  each  carrying  in  his 
hand  a  long  lighted  wax  candle  ;  and  then,  borne  aloft 
on  the  shoulders  of  four  men,  came  the  figure  of  Judith, 
with  a  bloody  sword  in  one  hand,  and  in  the  other  the 
gory  head  of  Holofernes.  Next,  also  on  the  shoulders 
of  four  men,  the  archangel  Gabriel,  dressed  in  red  silk, 
with  large  wings  puffed  out.  The  next  were  men  in 
grotesque  armour,  made  of  black  and  silver  paper,  to 
resemble  Moors,  with  shield  and  spear  like  ancient  cav- 
aliers ;  and  then  four  little  girls,  dressed  in  white  silk  and 
gauze,  and  looking  like  little  spiritualities,  with  men  on 
each  side  bearing  lighted  candles.  Then  came  a  large 
figure  of  Christ  bearing  the  cross,  supported  by  four  In- 
dians ;  on  each  side  were  young  Indian  lads,  carrying 

CEREMONIES     OF     GOOD     FRIDAY.  211 

long  poles  horizontally,  to  keep  the  crowd  from  pressing 
upon  it,  and  followed  by  a  procession  of  townsmen.  In 
turning  the  corner  of  the  street  at  which  we  stood,  a 
dark  Mestitzo,  with  a  scowl  of  fanaticism  on  his  face, 
said  to  Mr.  Catherwood,  "  Take  off  your  spectacles  and 
follow  the  cross."  Next  followed  a  procession  of  wo- 
men with  children  in  their  arms,  half  of  them  asleep, 
fancifully  dressed  with  silver  caps  and  headdresses,  and 
finally  a  large  statue  of  the  Virgin,  in  a  sitting  posture, 
magnificently  attired,  with  Indian  lads  on  each  side,  as 
before,  supporting  poles  with  candles.  The  whole  was 
accompanied  with  the  music  of  drums  and  violins  ;  and, 
as  the  long  train  of  light  passed  down  the  street,  we 
returned  to  the  convent. 

The  night  was  very  cold,  and  the  next  morning  was 
like  one  in  December  at  home.  It  was  the  morning  of 
Good  Friday  ;  and  throughout  Guatimala,  in  every  vil- 
lage, preparations  were  making  to  celebrate,  with  the 
most  solemn  ceremonies  of  the  Church,  the  resurrection 
of  the  Saviour.  In  Quezaltenango,  at  that  early  hour, 
the  plaza  was  thronged  with  Indians  from  the  country 
around ;  but  the  whites,  terrified  and  grieving  at  the 
murder  of  their  best  men,  avoided,  to  a  great  extent, 
taking  part  in  the  celebration. 

At  nine  o'clock  the  corregidor  called  for  us,  and  we 
accompanied  him  to  the  opening  ceremony.  On  one 
side  of  the  nave  of  the  church,  near  the  grand  altar, 
and  opposite  the  pulpit,  were  high  cushioned  chairs  for 
the  corregidor  and  members  of  the  municipality,  and 
we  had  seats  with  them.  The  church  was  thronged 
with  Indians,  estimated  at  more  than  three  thousand. 
Formerly,  at  this  ceremony  no  women  or  children  were 
admitted ;  but  now  the  floor  of  the  church  was  filled 
with  Indian  women  on  their  knees,  with  red  cords 


plaited  in  their  hair,  and  perhaps  one  third  of  them  had 
children  on  their  backs,  their  heads  and  arms  only  visi- 
ble. Except  ourselves  and  the  padre,  there  were  no 
white  people  in  the  church ;  and,  with  all  eyes  turned 
upon  us,  and  a  lively  recollection  of  the  fate  of  those 
who  but  a  few  days  before  had  occupied  our  seats,  we 
felt  that  the  post  of  honour  was  a  private  station. 

At  the  steps  of  the  grand  altar  stood  a  large  cross, 
apparently  of  solid  silver,  richly  carved  and  ornament- 
ed, and  over  it  a  high  arbour  of  pine  and  cypress 
branches.  At  the  foot  of  the  cross  stood  a  figure  of 
Mary  Magdalen  weeping,  with  her  hair  in  a  profusion 
of  ringlets,  her  frock  low  in  the  neck,  and  altogether 
rather  immodest.  On  the  right  was  the  figure  of  the 
Virgin  gorgeously  dressed,  and  in  the  nave  of  the 
church  stood  John  the  Baptist,  placed  there,  as  it 
seemed,  only  because  they  had  the  figure  oiri  hand. 
Very  soon  strains  of  wild  Indian  music  rose  from  the 
other  end  of  the  church,  and  a  procession  advanced, 
headed  by  Indians  with  broad-brimmed  felt  hats,  dark 
cloaks,  and  lighted  wax  candles,  preceding  the  body 
of  the  Saviour  on  a  bier  borne  by  the  cura  and  attend- 
ant padres,  and  followed  by  Indians  with  long  wax  can- 
dles. The  bier  advanced  to  the  foot  of  the  cross ;  lad- 
ders were  placed  behind  against  it ;  the  gobernador, 
with  his  long  black  cloak  and  broad-brimmed  felt  hat, 
mounted  on  the  right,  and  leaned  over,  holding  in  his 
hands  a  silver  hammer  and  a  long  silver  spike ;  an- 
other Indian  dignitary  mounted  on  the  other  side,  while 
the  priests  raised  the  figure  up  in  front ;  the  face  was 
ghastly,  blood  trickled  down  the  cheeks,  the  arms  and 
legs  were  moveable,  and  in  the  side  was  a  gaping 
wound,  with  a  stream  of  blood  oozing  from  it.  The 
back  was  affixed  to  the  cross,  the  arms  extended,  spikes 

DESCENT     FROM     THE     CROSS.  213 

driven  through  the  hands  and  feet,  the  ladders  taken 
away,  and  thus  the  figure  of  Christ  was  nailed  to  the 

This  over,  we  left  the  church,  and  passed  two  or  three 
hours  in  visiting.  The  white  population  was  small,  but 
equal  in  character  to  any  in  the  republic  ;  and  there  was 
hardly  a  respectable  family  that  was  not  afflicted  by  the 
outrage  of  Carrera.  We  knew  nothing  of  the  effect  of 
this  enormity  until  we  entered  domestic  circles.  The 
distress  of  women  whose  nearest  connexions  had  been 
murdered  or  obliged  to  fly  for  their  lives,  and  then  wan- 
dering they  knew  not  where,  those  only  can  realize  who 
can  appreciate  woman's  affection. 

I  was  urged  to  visit  the  widow  of  Molina.  Her  hus- 
band was  but  thirty-five,  and  his  death  under  any  cir- 
cumstances would  have  been  lamented,  even  by  political 
enemies.  I  felt  a  painful  interest  in  one  who  had  lived 
through  such  a  scene,  but  at  the  door  of  her  house  I 
stopped.  I  felt  that  a  visit  from  a  stranger  must  be  an 
intrusion  upon  her  sorrows. 

In  the  afternoon  we  were  again  seated  with  the  mu- 
nicipality in  the  church,  to  behold  the  descent  from  the 
cross.  The  spacious  building  was  thronged  to  suffoca- 
tion, and  the  floor  was  covered  by  a  dense  mass  of 
kneeling  women,  with  turbaned  headdresses,  and  cry- 
ing children  on  their  backs,  their  imaginations  excited 
by  gazing  at  the  bleeding  figure  on  the  cross  ;  but  among 
them  all  I  did  not  see  a  single  interesting  face.  A  priest 
ascended  the  pulpit,  thin  and  ghastly  pale,  who,  in  a 
voice  that  rang  through  every  part  of  the  building, 
preached  emphatically  a  passion  sermon.  Few  of  the 
Indians  understood  even  the  language,  and  at  times  the 
cries  of  children  made  his  words  inaudible ;  but  the 
thrilling  tones  of  his  voice  played  upon  every  chord  in 

214  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

their  hearts ;  and  mothers,  regardless  of  their  infants' 
cries,  sat  motionless,  their  countenances  fixed  in  high 
and  stern  enthusiasm.  It  was  the  same  church,  and  we 
could  imagine  them  to  be  the  same  women  who,  in  a 
phrensy  and  fury  of  fanaticism,  had  dragged  the  unhap- 
py vice-president  by  the  hair,  and  murdered  him  with 
their  hands.  Every  moment  the  excitement .  grew 
stronger.  The  priest  tore  off  his  black  cap,  and  lean- 
ing over  the  pulpit,  stretched  forward  both  his  arms, 
and  poured  out  a  frantic  apostrophe  to  the  bleeding  fig- 
ure on  the  cross.  A  dreadful  groan,  almost  curdling 
the  blood,  ran  through  the  church.  At  this  moment,  at 
a  signal  from  the  cura,  the  Indians  sprang  upon  the  ar- 
bour of  pine  branches,  tore  it  asunder,  and  with  a  noise 
like  the  crackling  of  a  great  conflagration,  struggling 
and  scuffling  around  the  altar,  broke  into  bits  the  con- 
secrated branches  to  save  as  holy  relics.  Two  Indians 
in  broad-brimmed  hats  mounted  the  ladders  on  each 
side  of  the  cross,  and  with  embroidered  cloth  over  their 
hands,  and  large  silver  pincers,  drew  out  the  spikes 
from  the  hands.  The  feelings  of  the  women  burst  forth 
in  tears,  sobs,  groans,  and  shrieks  of  lamentation,  so 
loud  and  deep,  that,  coming  upon  us  unexpectedly,  our 
feelings  were  disturbed,  and  even  with  sane  men  the 
empire  of  reason  tottered.  Such  screams  of  anguish  I 
never  heard  called  out  by  mortal  suffering ;  and  as  the 
body,  smeared  with  blood,  was  held  aloft  under  the  pul- 
pit, while  the  priest  leaned  down  and  apostrophized  it 
with  frantic  fervour,  and  the  mass  of  women,  wild  with 
excitement,  heaved  to  and  fro  like  the  surges  of  a  troub- 
led sea,  the  whole  scene  was  so  thrilling,  so  dreadfully 
mournful,  that,  without  knowing  why,  tears  started  from 
our  eyes.  Four  years  before,  at  Jerusalem,  on  Mount 
Calvary  itself,  and  in  presence  of  the  scoffing  Mussul- 

A    PROCESSION.  215 

man,  I  had  beheld  the  same  representation  of  the  de- 
scent from  the  cross ;  but  the  enthusiasm  of  Greek  pil- 
grims in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  was  nothing 
compared  with  this  whirlwind  of  fanaticism  and  phren- 
sy.  By  degrees  the  excitement  died  away ;  the  crack- 
ing of  the  pine  branches  ceased,  the  whole  arbour  was 
broken  up  and  distributed,  and  very  soon  commenced 
preparations  for  the  grand  procession. 

"We  went  out  with  the  corregidor  and  officers  of  the 
municipality,  and  took  our  place  in  the  balcony  of  the 
cabildo.  The  procession  opened  upon  us  in  a  manner 
so  extraordinary,  that,  screening  myself  from  observa- 
tion below,  I  endeavoured  to  make  a  note  of  it  on  the 
spot.  The  leader  was  a  man  on  horseback,  called  the 
centurion,  wearing  a  helmet  and  cuirass  of  pasteboard 
covered  with  silver  leaf,  a  black  crape  mask,  black  vel- 
vet shorts  and  white  stockings,  a  red  sash,  and  blue  and 
red  ribands  on  his  arms,  a  silver-hilted  sword,  and  a 
lance,  with  which,  from  time  to  time  turning  round,  he 
beckoned  and  waved  the  procession  on.  Then  came  a 
led  horse,  having  on  its  back  an  old  Mexican  saddle 
richly  plated  with  silver.  Then  two  men  wearing  long 
blue  gowns,  with  round  hoods  covering  their  heads,  and 
having  only  holes  for  the  eyes,  leading  two  mules 
abreast,  covered  with  black  cloth  dresses  enveloping 
their  whole  bodies  to  their  feet,  the  long  trains  of  which 
were  supported  by  men  attired  like  the  other  two. 
Then  followed  the  large  silver  cross  of  the  crucifixion, 
with  a  richly-ornamented  silver  pedestal,  and  ornaments 
dangling  from  each  arm  of  the  cross  that  looked  like 
lanterns,  supported  by  four  men  in  long  black  dresses. 
Next  came  a  procession  of  Indians,  two  abreast,  wearing 
long  black  cloaks,  with  black  felt  hats,  the  brims  six  or 
eight  inches  wide,  all  with  lighted  candles  in  their 

216  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

hands,  and  then  four  Indians  in  the  same  costume,  but 
with  crowns  of  thorns  on  their  heads,  dragging  a  long 
low  carriage  or  bier  filled  with  pine-leaves,  and  having 
a  naked  scull  laid  on  the  top  at  one  end. 

Next,  and  in  striking  contrast  with  this  emblem  of 
mortality,  advanced  an  angel  in  the  attitude  of  an  opera- 
dancer,  borne  on  the  shoulders  of  six  men,  dressed  in 
flounced  purple  satin,  with  lace  at  the  bottom,  gauze 
wings,  and  a  cloud  of  gauze  over  her  head,  holding  in 
her  right  hand  a  pair  of  silver  pincers,  and  in  her  left  a 
small  wooden  cross,  and  having  a  train  of  white  muslin 
ten  yards  long,  supported  by  a  pretty  little  girl  fanci- 
fully dressed.  Then  another  procession  of  Indians  with 
lighted  candles  ;  then  a  group  of  devils  in  horrible  mas- 
querade. Then  another  angel,  still  more  like  an  opera- 
dancer,  dressed  in  azure  blue  satin,  with  rich  lace  wings, 
and  clouds,  and  fluttering  ribands,  holding  in  her  right 
hand  a  ladder,  and  in  her  left  a  silver  hammer ;  her 
train  supported  as  before ;  and  we  could  not  help  see- 
ing that  she  wore  black  velvet  smallclothes.  Then  an- 
other angel,  dressed  in  yellow,  holding  in  her  right  hand 
a  small  wooden  cross,  and  in  the  other  I  could  not  tell 

The  next  in  order  was  a  beautiful  little  girl  about  ten 
years  old,  armed  cap-a-pie,  with  breastplate  and  helmet 
of  silver,  also  called  the  centurion,  who  moved  along  in 
a  slow  and  graceful  dance,  keeping  time  to  the  music, 
turning  round,  stopping,  resting  on  her  sword,  and  wa- 
ving on  a  party  worthy  of  such  a  chief,  being  twelve 
beautiful  children  fancifully  dressed,  intended  to  repre- 
sent the  twelve  apostles ;  one  of  them  carrying  in  his 
arms  a  silver  cock,  to  signify  that  he  was  the  represent- 
ative of  St.  Peter.  The  next  was  the  great  object  of 
veneration,  the  figure  of  the  Christ  crucified,  on  a  bier, 

AFFLICTIONS     OF     A     C  U  R  A.  217 

in  a  full  length  case  of  plate  glass,  strewed  with  roses 
inside  and  out,  and  protected  by  a  mourning  canopy  of 
black  cloth,  supported  by  men  in  long  black  gowns,  with 
hoods  covering  all  but  the  eyes.  This  was  followed  by 
the  cura  and  priests  in  their  richest  robes  and  barehead- 
ed, the  muffled  drum,  and  soldiers  with  arms  reversed ; 
the  Virgin  Mary,  in  a  long  black  mourning  dress,  closed 
the  procession.  It  passed  on  to  make  the  tour  of  the 
city ;  twice  we  intercepted  it,  and  then  went  to  the 
Church  of  El  Calvario.  It  stands  on  an  elevation  at  the 
extreme  end  of  a  long  street,  and  the  steps  were  already 
crowded  with  women  dressed  in  white  from  the  head 
to  the  feet,  with  barely  an  oval  opening  for  the  face. 
It  was  dark  when  the  procession  made  its  appearance 
at  the  foot  of  the  street,  but  by  the  blaze  of  innumera- 
ble lighted  candles  every  object  was  exhibited  with 
more  striking  wildness,  and  fanaticism  seemed  written 
in  letters  of  fire  on  the  faces  of  the  Indians.  The  cen- 
turion cleared  a  way  up  the  steps  ;  the  procession,  with 
a  loud  chant,  entered  the  church,  and  we  went  away. 

In  the  evening  we  made  several  visits,  and  late  at 
night  we  were  called  to  a  conference  by  some  friends 
of  the  cura,  and  on  his  behalf.  His  troubles  were  not 
yet  over.  On  the  day  of  our  arrival  he  had  received  a 
peremptory  order  from  the  provesor  to  repair  to  Gua- 
timala,  with  notice  that  "  some  proper  person"  would 
be  appointed  in  his  place.  We  knew  that  the  terms  of 
the  order  afflicted  the  cura,  for  they  implied  that  he 
was  not  a  proper  person.  All  Quezaltenango,  he  said, 
could  answer  for  his  acts,  and  he  could  answer  to  God 
that  his  motives  were  only  to  prevent  the  effusion  of 
blood.  His  house  was  all  in  confusion ;  he  was  pack- 
ing up  his  books  and  furniture,  and  preparing  to  obey 
the  provesor's  order.  But  his  friends  considered  that 

VOL.  II.— E  E  19 

218  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

it  was  dangerous  for  him  to  go  to  Guatimala.  At  that 
place,  they  said,  he  would  be  under  the  eyes  of  Carre- 
ra,  who,  meeting  him  in  an  angry  moment,  might  cut 
him  down  in  the  street.  If  he  did  not  go,  the  provesor 
would  send  soldiers  after  him,  such  was  the  rigour  of 
church  discipline.  They  wished  him  to  fly  the  country, 
to  go  with  us  into  Mexico  ;  but  he  could  not  leave  with- 
out a  passport  from  Guatimala,  and  this  would  be  refu- 
sed. The  reason  of  their  unburdening  themselves  to  us 
showed  the  helplessness  of  his  condition.  They  suppo- 
sed that  I  might  have  influence  with  the  provesor,  and 
begged  me  to  write  to  Guatimala,  and  state  the  facts  as 
they  were  known  to  all  Quezaltenango.  I  had  determin- 
ed to  take  no  part  in  the  public  or  personal  affairs  of  this 
unhappy  revolution,  but  here  I  would  not  have  hesitated 
to  incur  any  trouble  or  risk  to  serve  the  cura  could  it 
have  done  him  'any  good ;  but  I  knew  the  sensitive- 
ness of  the  men  in  power,  and  believed  that  the  prove- 
sor and  the  government  would  resent  my  interference. 
I  proposed,  however,  to  write  to  a  friend  who  I  knew 
stood  well  with  the  provesor,  and  request  him  to  call 
upon  that  dignitary  and  state  the  facts  as  from  me  ;  and 
I  suggested  that  he  should  send  some  friend  to  Guati- 
mala expressly  to  see  the  provesor  in  person.  Re- 
turned to  a  land  of  government  and  laws,  I  can  hard- 
ly realize  that  so  short  a  time  since  I  was  called  in  to 
counsel  for  the  safety  of  a  man  of  the  cura's  char- 
acter and  station.  Relatively,  the  most  respectable 
clergyman  in  our  country  does  not  stand  higher  than 
he  did. 

The  next  morning  we  were  invited  to  breakfast  with 
another  friend  and  counsellor,  and  about  as  strange  a 
one  as  myself,  being  the  old  lady  who  had  sent  the 
cura  one  hundred  dollars,  before  mentioned.  The  plan 


was  discussed  and  settled,  and  in  the  course  of  the 
day  two  friends  undertook  to  visit  Guatimala  on  the 
cura's  behalf.  We  intended  that  day  to  ascend  the 
Volcano  of  Quezaltenango,  but  were  disappointed  in 
our  guide.  In  the  morning  we  made  purchases  and 
provisions  for  continuing  our  journey,  and  as  one  of 
our  mules'  backs  was  badly  galled,  we  requested  the 
gobernador  to  procure  us  Indian  carriers. 

In  the  afternoon,  in  company  with  the  corregidor,  we 
rode  to  the  warm  springs  of  Almolonga.  The  road 
crosses  a  spur  of  the  volcano,  and  descends  precipitous- 
ly into  a  deep  valley,  in  which,  about  a  league  distant, 
stand  the  village  and  hot  springs.  There  is  a  good 
bathing-house,  at  which  we  were  not  allowed  to  pay, 
being  considered  the  guests  of  the  city.  Outside,  in  a 
beautiful  natural  reservoir,  Indian  men,  women,  and 
children  were  bathing  together. 

We  returned  by  another  road,  passing  up  a  valley  of 
extraordinary  beauty,  and  the  theme  of  conversation 
was  the  happiness  the  country  might  enjoy  but  for  wars 
and  revolutions.  Beautiful  as  it  was,  all  wished  to 
leave  it,  and  seek  a  land  where  life  was  safe — Mexico 
or  El  Norte.  Toward  evening,  descending  the  spur  of 
the  volcano,  we  met  several  hundred  Indians  returning 
from  the  ceremonies  of  the  Holy  Week,  and  exceeding 
in  drunkenness  all  the  specimens  we  had  yet  encoun- 
tered. In  one  place  a  man  and  woman,  the  latter  with 
a  child  on  her  back,  were  staggering  so  near  the  brink 
of  a  precipice,  that  the  corregidor  dismounted  and  took 
the  child  from  them,  and  made  them  go  before  us  into 
the  town. 

There  was  no  place  we  had  visited,  except  ruined 
cities,  so  unique  and  interesting,  and  which  deserved  to 
be  so  thoroughly  explored,  as  Quezaltenango.  A  month, 


at  least,  might  be  satisfactorily  and  profitably  employed 
in  examining  the  many  curious  objects  in  the  country 
around.  For  botanical  researches  it  is  the  richest  re- 
gion in  Central  America.  But  we  had  no  time  even 
for  rest. 

I  passed  the  evening  in  writing,  packing  things  to  be 
sent  to  Guatimala,  among  others  my  quezal,  which, 
however,  never  arrived,  and  in  writing  letters,  one  of 
which  was  on  account  of  the  cura,  and  in  which,  in- 
tending, even  if  it  fell  into  wrong  hands,  to  be  out  of 
the  country  myself,  I  spoke  in  no  measured  terms  of  the 
atrocity  committed  by  Carrera. 



Journey  continued. — A  Mountain  Plain.  —  Lost  Guides.  —  A  trying  Moment. — 
Agua  Calientes. — A  magnificent  View. —  Gold  Ore. —  San  Sebastiano. —  Gue- 
guetenango.  —  Sierra  Madre.— A  huge  Skeleton.  —  The  Ruins.  —  Pyramidal 
Structures, — A  Vault. — Mounds. — A  welcome  Addition. — Interior  of  a  Mound. 
— Vases.— Ascent  of  the  Sierra  Madre. — Buena  Vista. — The  Descent.— Todos 
Santos.— San  Martin.— San  Andres  Petapan.— A  Forest  on  Fire.— Suffering 
of  the  Mules  from  Swarms  of  Flies. — San  Antonio  de  Guista. 

EARLY  in  the  morning  our  mules  were  saddled  for 
the  journey.  The  gobernador  and  another  friend  of  the 
cura  came  to  receive  parting  instructions,  and  set  off  for 
Guatimala.  The  Indians  engaged  for  us  did  not  make 
their  appearance  ;  and,  desirous  to  save  the  day,  we 
loaded  the  mules,  and  sent  Juan  and  Bobon  forward 
with  the  luggage.  In  a  little  while  two  women  came 
and  told  us  that  our  Indians  were  in  prison.  I  accom- 
panied them  to  two  or  three  officials,  and  with  much 
difficulty  and  loss  of  time  found  the  man  having  charge 
of  them,  who  said  that,  finding  we  had  paid  them  part 
of  their  hire  in  advance,  and  afraid  they  would  buy 
agua  ardiente  and  be  missing,  he  had  shut  them  up  the 
night  before  to  have  them  ready,  and  had  left  word  to 
that  effect  with  one  of  the  servants  of  the  cura.  I  went 
with  him  to  the  prison,  paid  a  shilling  apiece  for  their 
lodging,  and  took  them  over  to  the  convent.  The  poor 
fellows  had  not  eaten  since  they  were  shut  up,  and,  as 
usual,  wanted  to  go  home  for  tortillas  for  the  journey. 
We  refused  to  let  them  go,  but  gave  them  money  to 
buy  some  in  the  plaza,  and  kept  the  woman  and  their 
chamars  as  hostages  for  their  return.  But  we  became 
tired  of  waiting.  Mr.  Catherwood  picked  up  their  cha- 
mars and  threw  them  across  his  saddle  as  a  guarantee 
for  their  following,  and  we  set  off. 


We  had  added  to  our  equipments  aguas  de  arma,  be- 
ing undressed  goatskins  embroidered  with  red  leather, 
which  hung  down  from  the  saddlebow,  to  protect  the 
legs  against  rain,  and  were  now  fully  accoutred  in 
Central  American  style. 

It  was  cold  and  wintry.  We  ascended  and  crossed 
a  high  plain,  and  at  the  distance  of  a  league  descended 
to  a  village,  where  we  learned  that  Juan  and  Bobon 
had  passed  on  some  time  before.  Beyond  this  we  as- 
cended a  high  and  rugged  mountain,  and  on  the  top 
reached  a  magnificent  plain.  We  rode  at  a  brisk  pace, 
and  it  was  one  o'clock  before  our  jailbirds  overtook  us. 
By  this  time  we  were  surprised  at  not  overtaking  our 
men  with  the  luggage.  We  could  not  have  passed 
them,  for  there  was  but  one  road.  Since  leaving  the 
village  we  had  not  seen  a  single  person,  and  at  two 
o'clock  we  met  a* man  with  a  loaded  mule  coming  from 
Aguas  Calientes,  the  end  of  our  day's  journey,  who 
had  not  met  them.  Mr.  Catherwood  became  alarmed, 
fearing  that  they  had  robbed  us  and  run  away.  I  was 
always  careless  with  luggage,  but  never  lost  any,  and 
was  slow  in  coming  to  this  belief.  In  half  an  hour  we 
met  another  man,  who  told  us  that  he  had  not  seen 
them,  and  that  there  was  no  other  road  than  the  one  by 
which  he  came.  Since  our  apprehensions  began,  we 
had  not  been  able  to  discover  any  tracks,  but  went  on 
to  within  two  leagues  of  our  halting-place,  when  we 
stopped,  and  held  one  of  the  most  anxious  consultations 
that  occurred  in  our  whole  journey.  We  knew  but  lit- 
tle of  the  men.  Juan  cheated  us  every  day  in  the  lit- 
tle purchases  for  the  road,  and  we  had  detected  him  in 
the  atrocity  of  keeping  back  part  of  the  money  we  gave 
him  to  buy  corn  and  sacate,  and  starving  the  mules. 
After  a  most  unhappy  deliberation,  we  concluded  that 

A     DILEMMA.  223 

they  had  broken  open  the  trunks,  taken  out  the  money, 
thrown  the  rest  of  the  contents  down  some  ravine, 
mounted  the  mules,  and  made  off.  Besides  money, 
beds,  and  bedding,  these  trunks  contained  all  Mr. 
Catherwood's  drawings,  and  the  precious  notebooks  to 
which  the  reader  is  indebted  for  these  pages.  The 
fruits  of  all  our  labour  were  gone.  In  all  our  difficul- 
ties and  perplexities  we  never  had  a  more  trying  mo- 
ment. We  were  two  leagues  from  Aguas  Calientes.  ><* 
To  go  on,  rouse  the  village,  get  fresh  horses,  and  return 
in  pursuit,  was  our  first  idea  ;  but  this  would  widen  the 
distance  between  us,  and  probably  we  should  not  be 
able  to  get  horses. 

With  hearts  so  heavy  that  nothing  but  the  feeble  hope  ' 
of  catching  them  while  dividing  the  money  kept  us  from 
sinking,  we  turned  back.  It  was  four  o'clock  in  the  af- 
ternoon ;  neither  our  mules  nor  we  had  eaten  anything 
since  early  in  the  morning.  Night  would  be  upon  us, 
and  it  was  doubtful  whether  our  mules  would  hold  out. 
Our  prisoners  told  us  we  had  been  very  imprudent  to 
let  the  men  set  out  alone,  and  took  it  for  granted  that 
they  had  not  let  slip  the  opportunity  of  robbing  us.  As 
we  rode  back,  both  Mr.  C.  and  I  brooded  over  an  ap- 
prehension which  for  some  time  neither  mentioned  to 
the  other.  It  was  the  letter  I  had  written  on  behalf  of 
the  cura.  We  should  again  be  within  reach  of  Car- 
rera.  If  the  letter  by  accident  fell  into  his  hands,  he 
would  be  indignant  at  what  he  considered  my  ingrati- 
tude, and  he  could  very  easily  take  his  revenge.  Our 
plans,  however,  were  made  up  at  once.  We  determined, 
at  all  events,  not  to  go  back  to  Guatimala,  nor,  broken 
as  we  were  in  fortune  and  spirit,  to  give  up  Palenque, 
but,  if  possible,  to  borrow  money  for  the  road,  even  if 
we  set  out  on  foot ;  but,  o  GLORIA  ETERNAL,  as  the  offi- 


cial  bulletin  said  of  Carrera's  victory,  on  reaching  the 
top  of  a  mountain  we  saw  the  men  climbing  up  a  deep 
ravine  on  the  other  side.  We  did  not  tell  them  our 
agony,  but  had  not  gone  far  before  the  Indians  told  all ; 
and  they  were  not  surprised  or  hurt.  How  we  passed 
them  neither  of  us  knew ;  but  another  such  a  spasm 
would  have  put  a  period  to  our  journey  of  life  ;  and  from 
that  time,  however  tedious,  or  whatever  might  be  the 
inducements,  we  resolved  to  keep  by  our  luggage.  At 
dusk  we  reached  the  top  of  a  high  mountain,  and  by 
one  of  those  long,  steep,  and  difficult  descents  of  which 
it  is  impossible  to  give  the  reader  any  idea,  entered  the 
village  of  Agua  Calientes. 

It  was  occupied  entirely  by  Indians,  who  gathered 
round  us  in  the  plaza,  and  by  the  light  of  pine  sticks  look- 
ed at  Carrera's  passport.  Not  one  of  them  could  read 
it,  but  it  was  enoVigh  to  pronounce  the  name,  and  the 
whole  village  was  put  in  requisition  to  provide  us  with 
something  to  eat.  The  alcalde  distributed  the  money 
we  gave  him,  and  one  brought  sixpence  worth  of  eggs, 
another  of  beans,  another  of  tortillas,  another  of  lard,  an- 
other of  candles,  and  a  dozen  or  more  received  sixpence 
apiece  for  sacate ;  not  one  of  them  would  bring  any- 
thing until  he  had  the  money  in  hand.  A  fire  was  kin- 
dled in  the  square,  and  in  process  of  time  we  had  sup- 
per. Our  usual  supper  of  fried  eggs,  beans,  tortillas, 
and  chocolate,  any  one  of  them  enough  to  disturb  di- 
gestion in  a  state  of  repose,  with  the  excitement  and 
vexation  of  our  supposed  loss,  made  me  ill.  The  ca- 
bildo  was  a  wretched  shed,  full  of  fleas,  with  a  coat  of 
dust  an  inch  thick  to  soften  the  hard  earthen  floor.  It 
was  too  cold  to  sleep  out  of  doors,  and  there  were  no  pins 
to  hang  hammocks  on,  for  in  this  region  hammocks 
were  not  used  at  all.  We  made  iHquiries  with  the  view 

A.     RUSTIC     BRIDGE.  225 

of  hiring  for  the  night  the  bedsteads  of  the  principal  in- 
habitants, but  there  was  not  one  in  the  village ;  all 
slept  on  the  bosom  of  mother  earth,  and  we  had  part 
of  the  family  bed.  Fortunately,  however,  and  most  im- 
portant for  us,  our  mules  fared  well. 

Early  in  the  morning  we  resumed  our  journey. 
There  are  warm  springs  in  this  neighbourhood,  but  we 
did  not  go  out  of  our  way  to  visit  them.  A  short  dis- 
tance from  the  village  we  crossed  a  river  and  commen- 
ced ascending  a  mountain.  On  the  top  we  came  upon 
a  narrow  table  of  land,  with  a  magnificent  forest  on 
both  sides  far  below  us.  The  wind  swept  over  the  lofty 
height,  so  that  with  our  ponchas,  which  were  necessary 
on  account  of  the  cold,  it  was  difficult  to  keep  the  sad- 
dle. The  road  was  broken  and  stony,  and  the  track 
scarcely  perceptible.  At  about  ten  o'clock  the  whole 
surface  of  the  mountain  was  a  bare  ridge  of  limestone, 
from  which  the  sun  was  reflected  with  scorching  heat, 
and  the  whiteness  was  dazzling  and  painful  to  the  eyes. 
Below  us,  on  each  side,  continued  an  immense  forest 
of  gigantic  pines.  The  road  was  perfectly  desolate ; 
we  met  no  travellers.  In  four  hours  we  saw  on  our 
left,  at  a  great  distance  below,  a  single  hacienda,  with 
a  clearing  around  it,  seemingly  selected  for  a  magnifi- 
cent seclusion  from  the  convulsions  of  a  distracted 
country.  The  ridge  was  broken  by  gullies  and  deep 
ravines ;  and  we  came  to  one  across  which,  by  way  of 
bridge,  lay  the  trunks  of  two  gigantic  pines.  My  macho 
always  pulled  back  when  I  attempted  to  lead  him,  and 
I  remained  on  his  back,  and  was  carried  steadily  over ; 
but  at  the  other  end  we  started  at  a  noise  behind  us. 
Our  best  cargo-mule  had  fallen,  rolled  over,  and  hung 
on  the  brink  of  the  precipice,  with  her  feet  kicking  in 
the  air,  kept  from  falling  to  the  bottom  only  by  being 
VOL.  II.— F  F 


entangled  among  bushes.  In  a  moment  we  scrambled 
down  to  her,  got  her  head  turned  up  the  bank,  and  by 
means  of  strong  halters  heaved  her  out ;  but  she  was 
bruised  and  crippled,  and  barely  able  to  stagger  under 
her  load.  Continuing  along  the  ridge,  swept  by  fierce 
blasts  of  wind,  we  descended  again  to  a  river,  rode  some 
distance  along  its  bank,  and  passed  a  track  up  the  side 
of  a  mountain  on  the  right,  so  steep  that  I  had  no  idea 
it  could  be  our  road,  and  passed  it,  but  was  called  back. 
It  was  the  steepest  ascent  we  had  yet  had  in  the  coun- 
try. It  was  cruel  to  push  my  brave  macho,  but  I  had 
been  tormented  all  day  with  a  violent  headache,  and 
could  not  walk ;  so  I  beat  up,  making  the  best  tacks  I 
could,  and  stopping  every  time  I  put  about.  On  the 
top  broke  upon  us  one  of  those  grand  and  magnificent 
views  which,  when  we  had  wiped  off  perspiration  and 
recovered  breath,  always  indemnified  us  for  our  toil.  It 
was  the  highest  ground  on  which  we  had  yet  stood. 
Around  us  was  a  sea  of  mountains,  and  peeping  above 
them,  but  so  little  as  to  give  full  effect  to  our  own  great 
height,  were  the  conical  tops  of  two  new  volcanoes. 
The  surface  was  of  limestone  rock,  in  immense  strata, 
with  quartz,  in  one  piece  of  which  we  discovered  a 
speck  of  gold.  Here  again,  in  this  vast  wilderness  of 
mountains,  deep  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  are  those 
repositories  of  the  precious  ores  for  which  millions  upon 
millions  all  over  the  world  are  toiling,  bargaining,  cra- 
ving, and  cheating  every  day. 

Continuing  on  this  ridge,  we  came  out  upon  a  spur 
commanding  a  view,  far  below  us,  of  a  cultivated  val- 
ley, and  the  village  of  San  Sebastiano.  We  descend- 
ed to  the  valley,  left  the  village  on  our  right,  crossed 
the  spur,  and  saw  the  end  of  our  day's  journey,  the  town 
of  Gueguetenango,  situated  on  an  extensive  plain,  with 


a  mild  climate,  luxuriant  with  tropical  productions,  sur- 
rounded by  immense  mountains,  and  before  us  the  great 
Sierra  Madre,  the  natural  bulwark  of  Central  America, 
the  grandeur  and  magnificence  of  the  view  disturbed 
only  by  the  distressing  reflection  that  we  had  to  cross 
it.  My  macho,  brought  up  on  the  plains  of  Costa  Rica, 
had  long  seemed  puzzled  to  know  what  mountains  were 
made  for  ;  if  he  could  have  spoken,  he  would  have  cried 
out  in  anguish, 

"  Hills  peep  o'er  hills,  and  Alps  on  Alps  arise." 

Our  day's  journey  was  but  twenty-seven  miles,  but  it 
was  harder  for  man  an<J  beast  than  any  sixty  since  we 
left  Guatimala.  We  rode  into  the  town,  the  chief  place 
of  the  last  district  of  .Central  America  and  of  the  an- 
cient kingdom  of  Quiche.  It  was  well  built,  with  a 
large  church  or  plaza,  and  again  a  crowd  of  Mestitzoes 
were  engaged  in  the  favourite  occupation  of  fighting 
cocks.  As  we  rode  through  the  plaza  the  bell  sounded 
for  the  oracion  or  vesper  prayers.  The  people  fell  on 
their  knees  and  we  took  off  our  hats.  We  stopped  at 
the  house  of  Don  Joaquim  Monte,  an  old  Spaniard  of 
high  consideration,  by  whom  we  were  hospitably  re- 
ceived, and  who,  though  a  Centralist,  on  account  of 
some  affair  of  his  sons,  had  had  his  house  at  Chiantla 
plundered  by  Carrera's  soldiers.  His  daughters  were 
compelled  to  take  refuge  in  the  church,  and  forty  or 
fifty  mules  were  driven  from  his  hacienda.  In  a  short 
time  we  had  a  visit  from  the  corregidor,  who  had  seen 
our  proposed  journey  announced  in  the  government 
paper,  and  treated  us  with  the  consideration  due  to  per- 
sons specially  recommended  by  the  government. 

We  reached  Gueguetenango  in  a  shattered  condition. 
Our  cargo-mules  had  their  backs  so  galled  that  it  was 

228  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

distressing  to  use  them ;  and  the  saddle-horse  was  no 
better  off.  Bobon,  in  walking  barefooted  over  the  stony 
road,  had  bruised  the  ball  of  one  of  his  feet  so  that  he 
was  disabled,  and  that  night  Juan's  enormous  supper 
gave  him  an  indigestion.  He  was  a  tremendous  feed- 
er ;  on  the  road  nothing  eatable  was  safe.  We  owed 
him  a  spite  for  pilfering  our  bread  and  bringing  us 
down  to  tortillas,  and  were  not  sorry  to  see  him  on 
his  back ;  but  he  rolled  over  the  floor  of  the  corridor, 
crying  out  uproariously,  so  as  to  disturb  the  whole 
household,  "  Voy  morir  !"  "  voy  morir  !"  "I  am  going 
to  die !"  "I  am  going  to  die  !"  He  was  a  hard  sub- 
ject to  work  upon,  but  we  took  him  in  hand  strongly, 
and  unloaded  him. 

Besides  our  immediate  difficulties,  we  heard  of  oth- 
ers in  prospect.  t  In  consequence  of  the  throng  of  emi- 
grants from  Guatimala  toward  Mexico,  no  one  was  ad- 
mitted into  that  territory  without  a  passport  from  Ciu- 
dad  Real,  the  capital  of  Chiapas,  four  or  five  days' 
journey  from  the  frontier.  The  frontier  was  a  long 
line  of  river  in  the  midst  of  a  wilderness,  and  there 
were  two  roads,  a  lower  one  but  little  travelled,  on  ac- 
count of  the  difficulty  of  crossing  the  rivers,  but  at  that 
time  passable.  As  we  intended,  however,  at  all  events, 
to  stop  at  this  place  for  the  purpose  of  visiting  the  ruins, 
we  postponed  our  decision  till  the  next  day. 

The  next  morning  Don  Joaquim  told  us  of  the  skel- 
eton of  a  colossal  animal,  supposed  to  be  a  mastodon, 
which  had  been  found  in  the  neighbourhood.  Some  of 
the  bones  had  been  collected,  and  were  then  in  the 
town,  and  having  seen  them,  we  took  a  guide  and 
walked  to  the  place  where  they  had  been  discovered, 
on  the  borders  of  the  Rio  Chinaca,  about  half  a  mile 
distant.  At  this  time  the  river  was  low,  but  the  year 

BONES     OF     A     MASTODON. 

before,  swelled  by  the  immense  floods  of  the  rainy  sea- 
son, it  had  burst  its  bounds,  carried  away  its  left  bank, 
and  laid  bare  one  side  of  the  skeleton.  The  bank  was 
perpendicular,  about  thirty  feet  high,  and  the  animal  had 
been  buried  in  an  upright  position.  Besides  the  bones 
in  the  town,  some  had  been  carried  away  by  the  flood, 
others  remained  imbedded  in  the  earth  ;  but  the  impres- 
sion of  the  whole  animal,  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  feet 
long,  was  distinctly  visible.  We  were  told  that  about 
eight  leagues  above,  on  the  bank  of  the  same  river,  the 
skeleton  of  a  much  larger  animal  had  been  discovered. 

In  the  afternoon  we  rode  to  the  ruins,  which  in  the 
town  were  called  las  cuevas,  the  caves.  They  He  about 
half  a  league  distant,  on  a  magnificent  plain,  bounded 
in  the  distance  by  lofty  mountains,  among  which  is  the 
great  Sierra  Madre. 

The  site  of  the  ancient  city,  as  at  Patinamit  and 
Santa  Cruz  del  Quiche,  was  chosen  for  its  security 
against  enemies.  It  was  surrounded  by  a  ravine,  and 
the  general  character  of  the  .ruins  is  the  same  as  at  Qui- 
che, but  the  hand  of  destruction  has  fallen  upon  it  more 
heavily.  The  whole  is  a  confused  heap  of  grass-grown 
fragments.  The  principal  remains  are  two  pyramidal 
structures  of  this  form  : 

fliida1  j— ^      •— i 

[—  Sfafb 

T_ _] 

One  of  them  measures  at  the  base  one  hundred  and  two 
feet ;  the  steps  are  four  feet  high  and  seven  feet  deep, 
making  the  whole  height  twenty-eight  feet.  They  are 
not  of  cut  stone  as  at  Copan,  but  of  rough  pieces  ce- 
mented with  lime,  and  the  whole  exterior  was  formerly 
coated  with  stucco  and  painted.  On  the  top  is  a  small 
square  platform,  and  at  the  base  lies  a  long  slab  of  rough 


230  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

stone,  apparently  hurled  down  from  the  top;  perhaps 
the  altar  on  which  human  victims  were  extended  for 

The  owner  of  the  ground,  a  Mestitzo,  whose  house 
was  near  by,  and  who  accompanied  us  to  the  ruins,  told 
us  that  he  had  bought  the  land  from  Indians,  and  that, 
for  some  time  after  his  purchase,  he  was  annoyed  by 
their  periodical  visits  to  celebrate  some  of  their  ancient 
rites  on  the  top  of  this  structure.  This  annoyance  con- 
tinued until  he  whipped  two  or  three  of  the  principal 
men  and  drove  them  away. 

At  the  foot  of  the  structure  was  a  vault,  faced  with 
cut  stone,  in  which  were  found  a  collection  of  bones 
and  a  terra  cotta  vase,  then  in  his  possession.  The 
vault  was  not  long  enough  for  the  body  of  a  man  ex- 
tended, and  the  bones  must  have  been  separated  before 
they  were  placed  there. 

The  owner  believed  that  these  structures  contained 
interior  apartments  with  hidden  treasures ;  and  there 
were  several  mounds,  supposed  to  be  sepulchres  of  the 
ancient  inhabitants,  which  also,  he  had  no  doubt,  con- 
tained treasure.  The  situation  of  the  place  was  mag- 
nificent. We  had  never  before  enjoyed  so  good  an  op- 
portunity of  working,  and  agreed  with  him  to  come  the 
next  day  and  make  excavations,  promising  to  give  him 
all  the  treasure,  and  taking  for  my  share  only  the  sculls, 
vases,  and  other  curiosities. 

The  next  morning,  before  we  were  up,  the  door  was 
thrown  open,  and  to  our  surprise  we  received  a  saluta- 
tion in  English.  The  costume  of  the  stranger  was  of 
the  country ;  his  beard  was  long,  and  he  looked  as  if 
already  he  had  made  a  hard  morning's  ride.  To  my 
great  surprise  and  pleasure  I  recognised  Pawling, 
whom  the  reader  will  perhaps  remember  I  had  seen  as 

•*•<}//«  it  Hf  It  7>/iv.  //   V.t/  rTa/itrr 







JMW:  • 


face  is  polished.  We  discovered  no  treasure,  but  our 
day's  work  was  most  interesting,  and  we  only  regret- 
ted that  we  had  not  time  to  explore  more  thoroughly. 

In  the  mean  time  Don  Joaquim  had  made  arrange- 
ments for  us,  and  the  next  morning  we  resumed  our 
journey.  We  left  behind  a  mule,  a  horse,  and  Bobon, 
and  were  re-enforced  by  Pawling,  well  mounted,  and 
armed  with  a  pair  of  pistols,  and  a  short  double-barrell- 
ed gun  slung  to  his  saddle-bow,  and  Santiago,  a  Mex- 
ican fugitive  soldier.  Juan  was  an  interesting  invalid 
mounted  on  a  mule,  and  the  whole  was  under  escort  of 
a  respectable  old  muleteer,  who  was  setting  out  with 
empty  mules  to  bring  back  a  load  of  sugar. 

At  a  short  distance  from  the  village  we  commenced 
ascending  the  Sierra  Madre.  The  first  range  was  stony, 
and  on  the  top  of  it  we  came  upon  a  cultivated  plain, 
beyond  which  rose  a  second  range,  covered  with  a  thick 
forest  of  oak.  On  the  top  of  this  range  stood  a  cross. 
The  spot  was  called  Buena  Vista,  or  Fine  View,  and 
commanded  a  magnificent  expanse  of  mountains  and 
plains,  five  lakes  and  two  volcanoes,  one  of  which, 
called  Tajamulco,  our  guide  said  was  a  water  volcano. 
Beyond  this  rose  a  third  range.  At  some  distance 
up  was  an  Indian  rancho,  at  which  a  fine  little  boy 
thrust  his  face  through  a  bush  fence,  and  said  "  adios" 
to  every  one  that  passed.  Beyond  was  another  boy, 
to  whom  we  all  in  succession  said  "  adios,"  but  the 
surly  little  fellow  would  not  answer  one  of  us.  On 
the  summit  of  this  range  we  were  almost  on  a  level 
with  the  tops  of  the  volcanoes.  As  we  ascended  the 
temperature  grew  colder,  and  we  were  compelled  to  put 
on  our  ponchas.  At  half  past  two  we  reached  the  top 
of  the  Sierra  Madre,  the  dividing  line  of  the  waters,  be- 
ing twelve  miles  from  Gueguetenango,  and  in  our  de- 
vious course  making  the  second  time  that  we  had 

THE     SIERRA    MADRE.  233 

crossed  the  sierra.  The  ridge  of  the  mountain  was  a 
long  level  table  about  half  a  mile  wide,  with  rugged 
sides  rising  on  the  right  to  a  terrific  peak.  Riding 
about  half  an  hour  on  this  table,  by  the  side  of  a  stream  of 
clear  and  cold  water,  which  passed  on,  carrying  its  trib- 
ute to  the  Pacific  Ocean,  we  reached  a  miserable  rancho, 
in  front  of  which  the  arriero  proposed  to  encamp,  as  he 
said  it  would  be  impossible  to  reach  the  next  village. 
At  a  distance  it  was  a  glorious  idea,  that  of  sleeping  on 
the  top  of  the  Sierra  Madre,  and  the  scene  was  wild 
enough  for  the  most  romantic  imagination ;  but,  being 
poorly  provided  against  cold,  we  would  have  gladly  ex- 
changed it  for  an  Indian  village. 

The  occupants  of  the  hut  were  a  man  and  woman, 
who  lived  there  rent  free.  Like  the  eagle,  they  had 
fixed  their  habitation  where  they  were  not  likely  to  be 
disturbed.  While  the  men  were  unloading,  Juan,  as 
an  invalid,  asked  permission  to  stretch  his  huge  body 
before  the  fire,  but  the  woman  told  him  there  was  more 
room  out  of  doors.  I  succeeded,  however,  in  securing 
him  a  place  inside.  We  had  an  hour  to  wander  over 
the  top  of  the  sierra.  It  belonged  to  our  friend  Don 
Joaquim  Monte,  and  was  what  would  be  called  at  home 
a  pretty  substantial  piece  of  fast  property.  At  every  step 
there  was  some  new  opening,  which  presented  a  new 
view  of  the  grand  and  magnificent  in  nature.  In  many 
places,  between  cliffs  and  under  certain  exposures,  were 
fine  pieces  of  ground,  and  about  half  a  mile  distant  a 
potrero  or  pasture-ground  for  brood  mares,  which  we 
visited  to  buy  some  corn  for  our  mules.  A  vicious  jack 
reigned  lord  of  the  sierra. 

Adjoining  the  occupied  hut  was  another  about  ten 
feet  square,  made  of  small  upright  poles,  thatched  with 
branches  of  cypress,  and  open  on  all  sides  to  the  wind. 

VOL.  II.— G  o 

234  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

We  collected  a  quantity  of  wood,  made  a  fire  in  the 
centre,  had  supper,  and  passed  a  social  evening.  The 
muleteers  had  a  large  fire  outside,  and  with  their  pack- 
saddles  and  cargoes  built  a  breastwork  to  shelter  them- 
selves against  the  wind.  Fancy  called  up  a  picture  of 
far-distant  scenes :  a  small  circle  of  friends,  perhaps  at 
that  moment  thinking  of  us.  Perhaps,  to  tell  the  truth, 
we  wished  to  be  with  them  ;  and,  above  all,  as  we  look- 
ed to  our  sleeping-places,  thought  of  the  comforts  of 
home.  Nevertheless,  we  soon  fell  asleep.  Toward 
morning,  however,  we  were  reminded  of  our  elevated 
region.  The  ground  was  covered  with  a  hoar-frost, 
and  water  was  frozen  a  quarter  of  an  inch  thick.  Our 
guide  said  that  this  happened  regularly  every  night 
in  the  year  when  the  atmosphere  was  clear.  It  was 
the  first  ice  we  had  seen  in  the  country.  The  men 
were  shivering  around  a  large  fire,  and,  as  soon  as  they 
could  see,  went  out  to  look  for  the  mules.  One  of 
them  had  strayed  ;  and  while  the  men  were  looking  for 
her,  we  had  breakfast,  and  did  not  get  off  till  a  quarter 
before  eight.  Our  road  traversed  the  ridge  of  the  sier- 
ra, which  for  two  leagues  was  a  level  table,  a  great  part 
composed  of  immense  beds  of  red  slate  and  blue  lime- 
stone or  chalk  rock,  lying  in  vertical  strata.  At  ten 
o'clock  we  began  to  descend,  the  cold  being  still  severe* 
The  descent  surpassed  in  grandeur  and  magnificence 
all  that  we  had  yet  encountered.  It  was  by  a  broad 
passage  with  perpendicular  mountain-walls,  rising  in 
rugged  and  terrific  peaks,  higher  and  higher  as  we  de- 
scended, out  of  which  gigantic  cypress-trees  were  grow- 
ing, their  trunks  and  all  their  branches  dead.  Before 
us,  between  these  immense  walls,  was  a  vista  reaching 
beyond  the  village  of  San  Andres,  twenty-four  miles 
distant,  A  stream  of  water  was  dashing  down  over 

TODOS     SANTOS.  235 

rocks  and  stones,  hurrying  on  to  the  Atlantic  ;  we  cross- 
ed it  perhaps  fifty  times  on  bridges  wild  and  rude  as 
the  stream  itself  and  the  mountains  between  which  it 
rolled.  As  we  descended  the  temperature  became 
milder.  At  twelve  o'clock  the  immense  ravine  opened 
into  a  rich  valley  a  mile  in  width,  and  in  half  an  hour 
we  reached  the  village  of  Todos  Santos.  On  the  right, 
far  below  us,  was  a  magnificent  table  cultivated  with 
corn,  and  bounded  by  the  side  of  the  great  sierra  ;  and 
in  the  suburbs  of  the  village  were  apple  and  peach  trees 
covered  with  blossoms  and  young  fruit.  We  had  again 
reached  the  tierras  templadas,  and  in  Europe  or  North 
America  the  beauty  of  this  miserable  unknown  village 
would  be  a  theme  for  poetry. 

As  we  rode  through  it,  at  the  head  of  the  street  we 
were  stopped  by  a  drunken  Indian,  supported  by  two 
men  hardly  able  to  stand  themselves,  who,  we  thought, 
were  taking  him  to  prison ;  but,  staggering  before  us, 
they  blocked  up  the  passage,  and  shouted  "  Passeporte !" 
Pawling,  in  anticipation,  and  to  assume  his  new  charac- 
ter, had  tied  his  jacket  around  his  waist  by  the  sleeves, 
and  was  dragging  one  of  the  mules  by  its  halter.  Not 
one  of  the  three  could  read  the  passport,  and  they  sent 
for  the  secretary,  a  bare-headed  Indian,  habited  in  no- 
thing but  a  ragged  cotton  shirt,  who  examined  it  very 
carefully,  and  read  aloud  the  name  of  Rafael  Carrera, 
which,  I  think,  was  all  that  he  attempted  to  make  out. 
We  were  neither  sentimental,  nor  philosophical,  nor 
moralizing  travellers,  but  it  gave  us  pangs  to  think  that 
such  a  magnificent  country  was  in  the  possession  of 
such  men. 

Passing  the  church  and  convent,  we  ascended  a  ridge, 
then  descended  an  immense  ravine,  crossed  another 
magnificent  valley,  and  at  length  reached  the  Indian 


village  of  San  Martin,  which,  with  loveliness  and  gran- 
deur all  around  us,  might  have  been  selected  for  its  sur- 
passing beauty  of  position.  We  rode  to  the  cabildo, 
and  then  to  the  hut  of  the  alcalde.  The  people  were 
all  Indians ;  the  secretary  was  a  bare-legged  boy,  who 
spelled  out  every  word  in  the  passport  except  our  names; 
but  his  reading  sufficed  to  procure  supper  for  us  and 
provender  for  the  mules,  and  early  in  the  morning  we 
pushed  on  again. 

For  some  distance  we  rode  on  a  lofty  ridge,  with  a 
precipitous  ravine  on  each  side,  in  one  place  so  narrow 
that,  as  our   arriero  told  us,   when  the  wind  is  high 
there  is  danger  of  being  blown  off.     We  continued  de- 
scending,  and  at  a  quarter  past  twelve  reached  San 
Andres  Petapan,  fifteen  miles  distant,  blooming  with 
oranges,  sapotes,  and  other  fruit  trees.     Passing  through 
the  village,  at  a  short  distance  beyond  we  were  stopped 
by  a  fire  in  the  woods.     We  turned  back,  and  attempt- 
ed to  pass  by  another  road,  but  were  unable.     Before 
we  returned  the  fire  had  reached  the   place  we   left, 
and  increased  so  fast  that  we  had  apprehensions  for 
the   luggage-mules,   and  hurried    them  back  with  the 
men  toward  the  village.     The  flames   came  creeping 
and  crackling  toward  us,  shooting  up  and  whirled  by 
currents  of  wind,  and  occasionally,  when  fed  with  dry 
and  combustible  materials,  flashing  and  darting  along 
like  a  train  of  gunpowder.     We  fell  back,  keeping  as 
near  as  we  could  to  the  line  of  fire,  the  road  lying  along 
the  side  of  a  mountain  ;  while  the  fire  came  from  the 
ravine  below,  crossing  the  road,  and  moving  upward. 
The  clouds  of  smoke  and  ashes,  the  rushing  of  currents 
of  wind  and  flames,  the  crackling  of  burning  branches, 
and  trees  wrapped  in  flames,  and  the  rapid  progress  of 
the  destroying  element,  made  such  a  wild  and  fearful 

A     FOREST     ON     FIRE.  237 

scene  that  we  could  not  tear  ourselves  away.  At 
length  we  saw  the  flames  rush  up  the  side  of  the  ra- 
vine, intercepting  the  path  before  us.  We  spurred  our 
horses,  shot  by,  and  in  a  moment  the  whole  was  a 
sheet  of  flame.  The  fire  was  now  spreading  so  rapid- 
ly that  we  became  alarmed,  and  hurried  back  to  the 
church,  which,  on  an  elevation  strongly  defined  against 
the  immense  mountain  in  the  background,  stood  before 
us  as  a  place  of  refuge.  By  this  time  the  villagers 
had  become  alarmed,  and  men  and  women  were  hur- 
rying to  the  height  to  watch  the  progress  of  the  flames. 
The  village  was  in  danger  of  conflagration ;  it  would 
be  impossible  to  urge  the  loaded  mules  up  the  hill  we 
had  descended,  and  we  resolved  to  deposite  the  luggage 
in  the  church,  and  save  the  mules  by  driving  them  up 
unburdened.  It  was  another  of  those  wild  scenes  to 
which  no  effect  can  be  given  in  words.  We  stopped 
on  the  brow  of  the  hill  before  the  square  of  the  church, 
and  while  we  were  watching  the  fire,  the  black  clouds 
and  sheets  of  flame  rolled  up  the  side  of  the  mountain, 
and  spared  the  village.  Relieved  from  apprehension, 
we  sat  down  under  a  tree  in  front  of  the  church  to  the 
calm  enjoyment  of  the  terrific  spectacle  and  a  cold  fowl. 
The  cinders  and  ashes  fell  around,  and  the  destructive 
element  rushed  on,  sparing  the  village  before  us,  per- 
haps to  lay  some  other  in  ruins. 

We  were  obliged  to  wait  two  hours.  From  the  foot 
of  the  hill  on  which  the  village  stood  the  ground  was 
hot  and  covered  with  a  light  coat  of  ashes ;  the  brush 
and  underwood  were  burned  away  ;  in  some  places 
were  lying  trees  reduced  to  masses  of  live  coal,  and 
others  were  standing  with  their  trunks  and  branches 
all  on  fire.  In  one  place  we  passed  a  square  of  white 
ashes,  the  remains  of  some  miserable  Indian  hut.  Our 


faces  and  hands  were  scorched,  and  our  whole  bodies 
heated  when  we  emerged  from  the  fiery  forest.  For 
a  few  moments  the  open  air  was  delightful;  but  we 
were  hardly  out  of  one  trouble  before  we  had  another. 
Swarms  of  enormous  flies,  perhaps  driven  out  by  the 
fire,  and  hovering  on  the  borders  of  the  burned  dis- 
trict, fell  upon  the  mules.  Every  bite  drew  blood,  and 
the  tormentors  clung  to  the  suffering  animals  until  brush- 
ed off  by  a  stick.  For  an  hour  we  laboured  hard,  but 
could  not  keep  their  heads  and  necks  free.  The  poor 
beasts  were  almost  frantic,  and,  in  spite  of  all  we  could 
do,  their  necks,  the  inside  of  their  legs,  mouths,  ears, 
nostrils,  and  every  tender  part  of  their  skin,  were  trick- 
ling with  blood.  Hurrying  on,  in  three  hours  we  saw 
the  Church  of  San  Antonio  de  Guista,  and  in  a  few  min- 
utes entered  the  village,  beautifully  situated  on  a  table- 
land projecting  from  the  slope  of  a  mountain,  look- 
ing upon  an  immense  opening,  andx  commanding  on  all 
sides  a  magnificent  view.  At  this  time  we  were  be*yond 
the  reach  of  war,  and  free  from  all  apprehensions. 
With  the  addition  of  Pawling's  pistols  and  double-bar- 
relled gun,  a  faithful  muleteer,  Santiago,  and  Juan  on 
his  legs  again,  we  could  have  stormed  an  Indian  vil- 
lage, and  locked  up  a  refractory  alcalde  in  his  own  ca- 
bildo.  We  took  possession  of  San  Antonio  de  Guista, 
dividing  ourselves  between  the  cabildo  and  the  convent, 
sent  for  the  alcalde  (even  on  the  borders  of  Central 
America  the  name  of  Carrera  was  omnipotent),  and 
told  him  to  stay  there  and  wait  upon  us,  or  send  an 
alguazil.  The  convent  stood  adjoining  the  church,  on 
an  open  table  of  land,  commanding  a  view  of  a  magnif- 
icent valley  surrounded  by  immense  mountains,  and  on 
the  left  was  a  vista  between  two  mountain  ranges,  wild, 
rugged,  and  lofty,  losing  their  tops  in  clouds.  Before 

SAN     ANTONIO     DE     GtTISTA.  239 

the  door  of  the  convent  was  a  large  cross  on  a  high 
pedestal  of  stone,  with  the  coating  decayed,  and  cover- 
ed with  wild  flowers.  The  convent  was  enclosed  by  a 
brush  fence,  without  any  opening  until  we  made  one. 
The  padre  was  not  at  home,  which  was  very  fortunate 
for  him,  as  there  would  not  have  been  room  enough  for 
us  alt.  In  fact,  everything  seemed  exactly  intended  for 
our  party ;  there  were  three  beds,  just  as  many  as  we 
could  conveniently  occupy ;  and  the  style  of  them  was 
new :  they  were  made  of  long  sticks  about  an  inch 
thick,  tied  with  bark  strings  at  top  and  bottom,  and 
resting  on  crotches  about  two  feet  high,  driven  into  the 
dirt  floor. 

The  alcalde  and  his  major  had  roused  the  village. 
In  a  few  moments,  instead  of  the  mortifying  answer 
"no  hay,"  there  is  none,  the  provision  made  for  us  was 
almost  equal  to  the  offers  of  the  Turkish  paradise. 
Twenty  or  thirty  women  were  in  the  convent  at  one 
time,  with  baskets  of  corn,  tortillas,  dolces,  plantains, 
hocotes,  sapotes.  and  a  variety  of  other  fruits,  each  one's 
stock  in  trade  being  of  the  value  of  three  cents;  and 
among  them  was  a  species  of  tortillas,  thin  and  baked 
hard,  about  twelve  inches  in  diameter,  one  hundred  and 
twenty  for  six  cents,  of  which,  as  they  were  not  expen* 
sive,  we  laid  in  a  large  supply. 

At  this  place  our  muleteer  was  to  leave  us.  We  had 
but  one  cargo-mule  fit  for  service,  and  applied  to  the 
alcalde  for  two  carriers  to  go  with  us  across  the  frontier 
to  Comitan.  He  went  out,  as  he  said,  to  consult  with 
the  mozos,  and  told  us  that  they  asked  six  dollars  apiece. 
"We  spoke  to  him  of  our  friend  Carrera,  and  on  a  sec- 
ond consultation  the  demand  was  reduced  by  two  thirds. 
We  were  obliged  to  make  provision  for  three  days,  and 
even  to  carry  corn  for  the  mules ;  and  Juan  and  San- 
tiago had  a  busy  night,  boiling  fowls  and  eggs. 

240  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 


Comfortable  Lodgings.— Journey  continued. — Stony  Road. — Beautiful  River.— 
Suspension  Bridge. —  The  Dolores. —  Rio  Lagertero.—  Enthusiasm  brought 
down. — Another  Bridge. — Entry  into  Mexico.— A  Bath. — A  Solitary  Church. 
—A  Scene  of  Barrenness. — Zapolouta.— Comitan. — Another  Countryman. — 
More  Perplexities.  —  Official  Courtesy.  —  Trade  of  Comitan.  —  Smuggling.  — 
Scarcity  of  Soap. 

THE  next  morning  we  found  the  convent  was  so  com- 
fortable, we  were  so  abundantly  served,  the  alcalde  or 
his  major,  staff  in  hand,  being  in  constant  attendance, 
and  the  situation  so  beautiful,  that  we  were  in  no  hur- 
ry to  go ;  but  the  alcalde  told  us  that  all  was  ready. 
We  did  not  see  our  carriers,  and  found  that  he  and  his 
major  were  the  tmozos  whom  he  had  consulted.  They 
could  not  let  slip  two  dollars  apiece,  and  laying  down 
their  staves  and  dignity,  bared  their  backs,  placed  the 
straps  across  their  foreheads,  took  up  the  loads,  and 
trotted  off. 

We  started  at  five  minutes  before  eight.  The  weath- 
er was  fine,  but  hazy.  From  the  village  we  descended 
a  hill  to  an  extensive  stony  plain,  and  at  about  a  league's 
distance  reached  the  brink  of  a  precipice,  from  which 
we  looked  down  into  a  rich  oblong  valley,  two  or  three 
thousand  feet  deep,  shut  in  all  around  by  a  mountain 
wall,  and  seeming  an  immense  excavation.  Toward 
the  other  end  of  the  valley  was  a  village  with  a  ruined 
church,  and  the  road  led  up  a  precipitous  ascent  to  a 
plain  on  the  same  level  with  that  on  which  we  stood, 
undulating  and  boundless  as  the  sea.  Below  us  it 
seemed  as  if  we  could  drop  a  stone  to  the  bottom.  We 
descended  by  one  of  the  steepest  and  most  stony  paths 
we  had  yet  encountered  in  the  country,  crossing  and 

A     SUSPENSION     BRIDGE.  241 

recrossing  in  a  zigzag  course  along  the  side  of  the  height, 
perhaps  making  the  descent  a  mile  and  a  half  long. 
Very  soon  we  reached  the  bank  of  a  beautiful  river, 
running  lengthwise  through  the  valley,  bordered  on  each 
side  by  immense  trees,  throwing  their  branches  clear 
across,  and  their  roots  washed  by  the  stream  ;  and  while 
the  plain  beyond  was  dry  and  parched,  they  were  green 
and  luxuriant.  Riding  along  it,  we  reached  a  suspension 
bridge  of  most  primitive  appearance  and  construction, 
called  by  the  natives  La  Hammaca,  which  had  exist- 
ed there  from  time  immemorial.  It  was  made  of  oziers 
twisted  into  cords,  about  three  feet  apart,  and  stretch- 
ed across  the  river  with  a  hanging  network  of  vines, 
the  ends  fastened  to  the  trunks  of  two  opposite  trees. 
It  hung  about  twenty-five  feet  above  the  river,  which 
was  here  some  eighty  feet  wide,  and  was  supported  in 
different  places  by  vines  tied  to  the  branches.  The  ac- 
cess was  by  a  rude  ladder  to  a  platform  in  the  crotch 
of  the  tree.  In  the  bottom  of  the  hammaca  were  two 
or  three  poles  to  walk  on.  It  waved  with  the  wind, 
and  was  an  unsteady  and  rather  insecure  means  of 
transportation.  From  the  centre  the  vista  of  the  river 
both  ways  under  the  arches  of  the  trees  was  beautiful, 
and  in  every  direction  the  hammaca  was  a  most  pic- 
turesque-looking object.  We  continued  on  to  the  vil- 
lage, and  after  a  short  halt  and  a  smoke  with  the  al- 
calde, rode  on  to  the  extreme  end  of  the  valley,  and  by 
a  steep  and  stony  ascent,  at  twenty  minutes  past  twelve 
reached  the  level  ground  above.  Here  we  dismounted, 
slipped  the  bridles  of  our  mules,  and  seated  ourselves 
to  wait  for  our  Indians,  looking  down  into  the  deep  im- 
bosomed  valley,  and  back  at  the  great  range  of  Cordil- 
leras, crowned  by  the  Sierra  Madre,  seeming  a  barrier 
fit  to  separate  worlds. 

VOL.  II.— H  H  21 


Free  from  all  apprehensions,  we  were  now  in  the  full 
enjoyment  of  the  wild  country  and  wild  mode  of  trav- 
elling. But  our  poor  Indians,  perhaps,  did  not  enjoy  it 
so  much.  The  usual  load  was  from  three  to  four  arro- 
bas,  seventy-five  to  one  hundred  pounds ;  ours  were 
not  more  than  fifty ;  but  the  sweat  rolled  in  streams 
down  their  naked  bodies,  and  every  limb  trembled. 
After  a  short  rest  they  started  again.  The  day  was 
hot  and  sultry,  the  ground  dry,  parched,  and  stony. 
"We  had  two  sharp  descents,  and  reached  the  Rivei 
Dolores.  On  both  sides  were  large  trees,  furnishing  a 
beautiful  shade,  which,  after  our  scorching  ride,  we 
found  delightful.  The  river  was  about  three  hundred 
feet  broad.  In  the  rainy  season  it  is  impassable,  but  in 
the  dry  season  not  more  than  three  or  four  feet  deep, 
very  clear,  and  Jhe  colour  a  grayish  green,  probably 
from  the  reflection  of  the  trees.  We  had  had  no  water 
since  we  left  the  suspension  bridge,  and  both  our  mules 
and  we  were  intemperate. 

We  remained  here  half  an  hour  ;  and  now  apprehen- 
sions, which  had  been  operating  more  or  less  all  the 
time,  made  us  feel  very  uncomfortable.  We  were  ap- 
proaching, and  very  near,  the  frontier  of  Mexico.  This 
road  was  so  little  travelled,  that,  as  we  were  advised, 
there  was  no  regular  guard  ;  but  piquets  of  soldiers  were 
scouring  the  whole  line  of  frontier  to  prevent  smug- 
gling, who  might  consider  us  contraband.  Our  pass- 
ports were  good  for  going  out  of  Central  America  ;  but 
to  go  into  Mexico,  the  passport  of  the  Mexican  authori- 
ties at  Ciudad  Real,  four  days'  journey,  was  necessary. 
Turning  back  was  not  in  our  vocabulary;  perhaps  we 
should  be  obliged  to  wait  in  the  wilderness  till  we  could 
send  for  one. 

In  half  an  hour  we  reached  the  Rio  Lagertero,  the 

ENTRY     INTO     MEXICO.  243 

boundary-line  between  Guatimala  and  Mexico,  a  scene 
of  wild  and  surpassing  beauty,  with  banks  shaded  by 
some  of  the  noblest  trees  of  the  tropical  forests,  water 
as  clear  as  crystal,  and  fish  a  foot  long  playing  in  it  as 
gently  as  if  there  were  no  fish-hooks.  No  soldiers  were 
visible ;  all  was  as  desolate  as  if  no  human  being  had 
ever  crossed  the  boundary  before.  We  had  a  mo- 
ment's consultation  on  which  side  to  encamp,  and  de- 
termined to  make  a  lodgment  in  Mexico.  I  was  riding 
Pawling's  horse,  and  spurred  him  into  the  water,  to  be 
the  first  to  touch  the  soil.  With  one  plunge  his  fore- 
feet were  off  the  bottom,  and  my  legs  under  water. 
For  an  instant  I  hesitated ;  but  as  the  water  rose  to  my 
holsters  my  enthusiasm  gave  way,  and  I  wheeled  back 
into  Central  America.  As  we  afterward  found,  the 
water  was  ten  or  twelve  feet  deep. 

We  waited  for  the  Indians,  in  some  doubt  whether  it 
would  be  possible  to  cross  at  all  with  the  luggage.  At  a 
short  distance  above  was  a  ledge  of  rocks,  forming  rap- 
ids, over  which  there  h^ad  been  a  bridge  with  a  wooden 
arch  and  stone  abutments,  the  latter  of  which  were  still 
standing,  the  bridge  having  been  carried  away  by  the 
rising  of  the  waters  seven  years  before.  It  was  the  last 
of  the  dry  season ;  the  rocks  were  in  some  places  dry, 
the  body  of  the  river  running  in  channels  on  each  side, 
and  a  log  was  laid  to  them  from  the  abutments  of  the 
bridge.  We  took  off  the  saddles  and  bridles  of  the 
mules,  and  cautiously,  with  the  water  breaking  rapidly 
up  to  the  knees,  carried  everything  across  by  hand  ;  an 
operation  in  which  an  hour  was  consumed.  One  night's 
rain  on  the  mountains  would  have  made  it  impassable. 
The  mules  were  then  swum  across,  and  we  were  all 
ianded  safely  in  Mexico. 

On  the  bank  opposite  the  place  where  I  attempted  to 


MOSS  was  a  semicircular  clearing,  from  which  the  only 
opening  was  the  path  leading  into  the  Mexican  prov- 
inces. We  closed  this  up,  and  turned  the  mules  loose, 
hung  our  traps  on  the  trees,  and  bivouacked  in  the  cen- 
tre. The  men  built  a  fire,  and  while  they  were  prepa- 
ring supper  we  went  down  to  the  river  to  bathe.  The 
rapids  were  breaking  above-  us.  The  wildness  of  the 
scene,  its  seclusion  and  remoteness,  the  clearness  of  the 
water,  the  sense  of  having  accomplished  an  important 
part  of  our  journey,  all  revived  our  physical  and  moral 
being.  Clean  apparel  consummated  the  glory  of  the 
bath.  For  several  days  our  digestive  organs  had  been 
out  of  order,  but  when  we  sat  down  to  supper  they 
could  have  undertaken  the  bridles  of  the  mules ;  and 
my  brave  macho — it  was  a  pleasure  to  hear  him  craunch 
his  corn.  We  were  out  of  Central  America,  safe  from 
the  dangers  of  revolution,  and  stood  on  the  wild  borders 
of  Mexico,  in  good  health,  with  good  appetites,  and 
something  to  eat.  We  had  still  a  tremendous  journey 
before  us,  but  it  seemed  nothing.  We  strode  the  little 
clearing  as  proudly  as  the  conquerors  of  Mexico,  and 
in  our  extravagance  resolved  to  have  a  fish  for  break- 
fast. We  had  no  hooks,  and  there  was  not  even  a  pin 
in  our  travelling  equipage  ;  but  we  had  needles  and 
thread.  Pawling,  with  the  experience  of  seven  years' 
"  roughing,"  had  expedients,  and  put  a  needle  in  the 
fire,  which  softened  its  temper,  so  that  he  bent  it  into  a 
hook.  A  pole  was  on  every  tree,  and  we  could  see  the 
fish  in  the  water ;  all  that  we  wanted  was  for  them  to 
open  their  mouths  and  hook  themselves  to  the  needle ; 
but  this  they  would  not  do,  and  for  this  reason  alone 
we  did  not  catch  any.  We  returned.  Our  men  cut 
some  poles,  and  resting  them  in  the  crotch  of  a  tree,  cov- 
ered them  with  branches.  We  spread  our  mats  under, 

A     CHURCH    IN    RUINS.  245 

and  our  roof  and  beds  were  ready.  The  men  piled  logs 
of  wood  on  the  fire,  and  our  sleep  was  sound  and  glo* 

At  daylight  the  next  morning  we  were  again  in  the 
water.  Our  bath  was  even  better  than  that  of  the  night 
before,  and  when  I  mounted  I  felt  able  to  ride  through 
Mexico  and  Texas  to  my  own  door  at  home.  Returned 
once  more  to  steamboats  and  railroads,  how  flat,  tame, 
and  insipid  all  their  comforts  seem. 

We  started  at  half  past  seven.  At  a  very  short  dis- 
tance three  wild  boars  crossed  our  path,  all  within  gun- 
shot ;  but  our  men  carried  the  guns,  and  in  an  instant 
it  was  too  late.  Very  soon  we  emerged  from  the  woods 
that  bordered  the  river,  and  came  out  into  an  operi 
plain.  At  half  past  eight  we  crossed  a  low  stony  hill 
and  came  to  the  dry  bed  of  a  river;  The  bottom  was 
flat  and  baked  hard,  and  the  sides  smooth  and  regular 
as  those  of  a  canal.  At  the  distance  of  half  a  league 
water  appeared,  and  at  half  past  nine  it  became  a  con- 
siderable stream.  We  again  entered  a  forest,  and  ri- 
ding by  a  narrow  path,  saw  directly  before  us,  closing 
the  passage,  the  side  of  a  large  church.  We  came  out, 
and  saw  the  whole  gigantic  building,  without  a  single 
habitation,  or  the  vestige  of  one,  in  sight.  The  path  led 
across  the  broken  wall  of  the  courtyard.  We  dis- 
mounted in  the  deep  shade  of  the  front.  The  facade 
was  rich  and  perfect.  It  was  sixty  feet  front  and  two 
hundred  and  fifty  feet  deep,  but  roofless,  with  trees 
growing  out  of  the  area  above  the  walls.  Nothing  could 
exceed  the  quiet  and  desolation  of  the  scene  ;  but  there 
was  something  strangely  interesting  in  these  roofless 
churches,  standing  in  places  entirely  unknown.  San- 
tiago told  us  that  this  was  called  Conata,  and  the  tradi- 
tion is,  that  it  was  once  so  rich  that  the  inhabitants  car- 

246  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

ried  their  water-jars  by  silken  cords.  Giving  our  mules 
to  Santiago,  we  entered  the  open  door  of  the  church. 
The  altar  was  thrown  down,  the  roof  lay  in  broken 
masses  on  the  ground,  and  the  whole  ar§a  was  a  forest 
of  trees.  At  the  foot  of  the  church,  and  connected  with 
it,  was  a  convent.  There  was  no  roof,  but  the  apart- 
ments were  entire  as  when  a  good  padre  stood  to  wel- 
come a  traveller.  In  front  of  the  church,  on  each  side, 
was  a  staircase  leading  up  to  a  belfry  in  the  centre  of 
the  facade.  We  ascended  to  the  top.  The  bells  which 
had  called  to  matin  and  vesper  prayers  were  gone  ;  the 
crosspiece  was  broken  from  the  cross.  The  stone  of 
the  belfry  was  solid  masses  of  petrified  shells,  worms, 
leaves,  and  insects.  On  one  side  we  looked  down  into 
the  roofless  area,  and  on  the  other  over  a  region  of 
waste.  One  man  had  written  his  name  there  : 

Joaquim  Ruderigos, 
Conata,  Mayo  1°,  1836. 

We  wrote  our  names  under  his  and  descended, 
mounted,  rode  over  a  stony  and  desolate  country, 
crossed  a  river,  and  saw  before  us  a  range  of  hills,  and 
beyond  a  range  of  mountains.  Then  we  came  upon  a 
bleak  stony  table,  and  after  riding  four  hours  and  a 
half,  saw  the  road  leading  across  a  barren  mountain  on 
our  right,  and,  afraid  we  had  missed  our  way,  halted 
under  a  low  spreading  tree  to  wait  for  our  men.  We 
turned  the  mules  loose,  and  after  waiting  some  time, 
sent  Santiago  back  to  look  for  them.  The  wind 
was  sweeping  over  the  plain,  and  while  Mr.  Gather- 
wood  was  cutting  wood,  Pawling  and  I  descended 
to  a  ravine  to  look  for  water.  The  bed  was  entirely 
dry,  and  one  took  his  course  up  and  the  other  down. 
Pawling  found  a  muddy  hole  in  a  rock,  which,  even 
to  thirsty  men,  was  not  tempting.  We  returned,  and 

THE     BIVOUAC.  247 

found  Mr.  Catherwood  warming  himself  by  the  blaze  of 
three  or  four  young  trees,  which  he  had  piled  one  upon 
another.  The  wind  was  at  this  time  sweeping  furious- 
ly over  the  plain.  Night  was  approaching  ;  we  had  not 
eaten  anything  since  morning ;  our  small  stock  of  pro- 
visions was  in  unsafe  hands,  and  we  began  to  fear  that 
none  would  be  forthcoming.  Our  mules  were  as  badly 
off.  The  pasture  was  so  poor  that  they  required  a  wide 
range,  and  we  let  all  go  loose  except  my  poor  macho, 
which,  from  certain  roving  propensities  acquired  before 
he  came  into  my  possession,  we  were  obliged  to  fasten 
to  a  tree.  It  was  some  time  after  dark  when  Santiago 
appeared  with  the  alforgas  of  provisions  on  his  back. 
He  had  gone  back  six  miles  when  he  found  the  track 
of  Juan's  foot,  one  of  the  squarest  ever  planted,  and 
followed  it  to  a  wretched  hut  in  the  woods,  at  which 
we  had  expected  to  stop.  We  had  lost  nothing  by  not 
stopping;  all  they  could  get  to  bring  away  was  four 
eggs.  We  supped,  piled  up  our  trunks  to  windward, 
spread  our  mats,  lay  down,  gazed  for  a  few  moments 
at  the  stars,  and  fell  asleep.  During  the  night  the  wind 
changed,  and  we  were  almost  blown  away. 

The  next  morning,  preparatory  to  entering  once  more 
upon  habitable  regions,  we  made  our  toilet ;  i.  e.,  we 
hung  a  looking-glass  on  the  branch  of  a  tree,  and  shaved 
the  upper  lip  and  a  small  part  of  the  chin.  At  a  quar- 
ter past  seven  we  started,  having  eaten  up  our  last  frag- 
ment. Since  we  left  Guista  we  had  not  seen  a  human 
being ;  the  country  was  still  desolate  and  dreary  ;  there 
was  not  a  breath  of  air ;  hills,  mountains,  and  plains 
were  all  barren  and  stony ;  but,  as  the  sun  peeped 
above  the  horizon,  its  beams  gladdened  this  scene  of 
barrenness.  For  two  hours  we  ascended  a  barren 
stony  mountain.  Even  before  this  the  desolate  fron- 

248  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

tier  had  seemed  almost  an  impregnable  barrier ;  but 
Alvarado  had  crossed  it  to  penetrate  an  unknown  coun- 
try teeming  with  enemies,  and  twice  a  Mexican  army 
has  invaded  Central  America. 

At  half  past  ten  we  reached  the  top  of  the  mountain, 
and  on  a  line  before  us  saw  the  Church  of  Zapolouta, 
the  first  village  in  Mexico.  Here  our  apprehensions 
revived  from  want  of  a  passport.  Our  great  object 
was  to  reach  Comitan,  and  there  bide  the  brunt.  Ap- 
proaching the  village,  we  avoided  the  road  that  led 
through  the  plaza,  and  leaving  the  luggage  to  get  along 
as  it  could,  hurried  through  the  suburbs,  startled  some 
women  and  children,  and  before  our  entry  was  known 
at  the  cabildo  we  were  beyond  the  village.  We  rode 
briskly  for  about  a  mile,  and  then  stopped  to  breathe. 
An  immense  weight  was  removed  from  our  minds,  and 
we  welcomed  each  other  to  Mexico.  Coming  in  from 
the  desolate  frontier,  it  opened  upon  us  like  an  old,  long- 
settled,  civilized,  quiet,  and  well-governed  country. 

Four  hours'  ride  over  an  arid  and  sandy  plain  brought 
us  to  Comitan.  Santiago,  being  a  deserter  from  the 
Mexican  army,  afraid  of  being  caught,  left  us  in  the 
suburbs  to  return  alone  across  the  desert  we  had  pass- 
ed, and  we  rode  into  the  plaza.  In  one  of  the  largest 
houses  fronting  it  lived  an  American.  Part  of  the  front 
was  occupied  as  a  shop,  and  behind  the  counter  was  a 
man  whose  face  called  up  the  memory  of  home.  I 
asked  him  in  English  if  his  name  was  M'Kinney,  and 
he  answered  "  Si,  senor."  I  put  several  other  ques- 
tions in  English,  which  he  answered  in  Spanish.  The 
sounds  were  familiar  to  him,  yet  it  was  some  time  be- 
fore he  could  fully  comprehend  that  he  was  listening  to 
his  native  tongue ;  but  when  he  did,  and  understood 
that  I  was  a  countryman,  it  awakened  feelings  to  which 

A     VIRGINIAN     MEXICAN.  249 

he  had  long  been  a  stranger,  and  he  received  us  as 
one  in  whom  absence  had  only  strengthened  the  links 
that  bound  him  to  his  country. 

Dr.  James  M'Kinney,  whose  unpretending  name  is 
in  Comitan  transformed  to  the  imposing  one  of  Don 
Santiago  Maquene,  was  a  native  of  Westmoreland  coun- 
ty, Virginia,  and  went  out  to  Tobasco  to  pass  a  winter 
for  the  benefit  of  his  health  and  the  practice  of  his  pro- 
fession.  Circumstances  induced  him  to  make  a  journey 
into  the  interior,  and  he  established  himself  at  Ciudad 
Real.  At  the  time  of  the  cholera  in  Central  America 
he  went  to  Quezaltenango,  where  he  was  employed  by 
the  government,  and  lived  two  years  on  intimate  terms 
with  the  unfortunate  General  Guzman,  whom  he  de- 
scribed as  one  of  the  most  gentlemanly,  amiable,  intel- 
ligent, and  best  men  in  the  country.  He  afterward  re- 
turned to  Qomitan,  and  married  a  lady  of  a  once  rich 
and  powerful  family,  but  stripped  of  a  portion  of  its 
wealth  by  a  revolution  only  two  years  before.  In  the 
division  of  what  was  left,  the  house  on  the  plaza  fell  to 
his  share  ;  and  disliking  the  practice  of  his  profession,  he 
abandoned  it,  and  took  to  selling  goods.  Like  every 
other  stranger  in  the  country,  by  reason  of  constant  wars 
and  revolutions  he  had  become  nervous.  He  had  none 
of  this  feeling  when  he  first  arrived,  and  at  the  time  of 
the  first  revolution  in  Ciudad  Real  he  stood  in  the  plaza 
looking  on,  when  two  men  were  shot  down  by  his  side. 
Fortunately,  he  took  them  into  a  house  to  dress  their 
wounds,  and  during  this  time  the  attacking  party  forced 
their  way  into  the  plaza,  and  cut  down  every  man  in  it. 

Up  to  this  place  we  had  travelled  on  the  road  to  Mex- 
ico ;  here  Pawling  was  to  leave  us  and  go  on  to  the  cap- 
ital ;  Palenque  lay  on  our  right,  toward  the  coast  of  the 
Atlantic.  The  road  Dr.  M'Kinney  described  as  more 

VOL.  II.— I  i 


frightful  than  any  we  had  yet  travelled  ;  and  there  were 
other  difficulties.  War  was  again  in  our  way ;  and, 
while  all  the  rest  of  Mexico  was  quiet,  Tobasco  and 
Yucatan,  the  two  points  in  our  journey,  were  in  a  state 
of  revolution.  This  might  have  disturbed  us  greatly 
but  for  another  difficulty.  It  was  necessary  to  present 
ourselves  at  Ciudad  Real,  three  days'  journey  directly 
out  of  our  road,  to  procure  a  passport,  without  which  we 
could  not  travel  in  any  part  of  the  Mexican  republic. 
And,  serious  as  these  things  were,  they  merged  in  a 
third  ;  viz.,  the  government  of  Mexico  had  issued  a  per- 
emptory order  to  prevent  all  strangers  visiting  the  ruins 
of  Palenque.  Dr.  M'Kinney  told  us  of  his  own  knowl- 
edge that  three  Belgians,  sent  out  on  a  scientific  expe- 
dition by  the  Belgian  government,  had  gone  to  Ciudad 
Real  expressly  ^o  ask  permission  to  visit  them,  and  had 
been  refused.  These  communications  damped  some- 
what the  satisfaction  of  our  arrival  in  Comitan. 

By  Dr.  M'Kinney's  advice  we  presented  ourselves 
immediately  to  the  commandant,  who  had  a  small  gar- 
rison of  about  thirty  men,  well  uniformed  and  equipped, 
and,  compared  with  the  soldiers  of  Central  America,  giv- 
ing me  a  high  opinion  of  the  Mexican  army.  I  showed 
him  my  passport,  and  a  copy  of  the  government  paper 
of  Guatimala,  which  fortunately  stated  that  I  intended 
going  to  Campeachy  to  embark  for  the  United  States. 
With  great  courtesy  he  immediately  undertook  to  relieve 
us  from  the  necessity  of  presenting  ourselves  in  person 
at  Ciudad  Real,  and  offered  to  send  a  courier  to  the 
governor  for  a  passport.  This  was  a  great  point,  but 
still  there  would  be  detention;  and  by  his  advice  we 
called  upon  the  prefeto,  who  received  us  with  the  same 
courtesy,  regretted  the  necessity  of  embarrassing  my 
movements,  showed  us  a  copy  of  the  order  of  the  gov- 


eminent,  which  was  imperative,  and  made  no  excep- 
tions in  favour  of  Special  Confidential  Agents.  He 
was  really  anxious,  however,  to  serve  us,  said  he  was 
willing  to  incur  some  responsibility,  and  would  consult 
with  the  commandant.  We  left  him  with  a  warm  ap- 
preciation of  the  civility  and  good  feeling  of  the  Mexi- 
can officials,  and  satisfied  that,  whatever  might  be  the 
result,  they  were  disposed  to  pay  great  respect  to  their 
neighbours  of  the  North.  The  next  morning  the  prefeto 
sent  back  the  passport,  with  a  courteous  message  that 
they  considered  me  in  the  same  light  as  if  I  had  come 
accredited  to  their  own  government,  would  be  happy. to 
render  me  every  facility  in  their  power,  and  that  Mexico 
was  open  to  me  to  travel  which  way  I  pleased.  Thus 
one  great  difficulty  was  removed.  I  recommend  all  who 
wish  to  travel  to  get  an  appointment  from  Washington. 
As  to  the  revolutions,  after  having  gone  through 
the  crash  of  a  Central  American,  we  were  not  to  be 
put  back  by  a  Mexican.  But  the  preventive  order 
against  visiting  the  ruins  of  Palenque  was  not  so  easi- 
ly disposed  of.  If  we  made  an  application  for  permis- 
sion, we  felt  sure  of  the  good  disposition  of  the  local  au- 
thorities ;  but  if  they  had  no  discretion,  were  bound  by 
imperative  orders,  and  obliged  to  refuse,  it  would  be 
uncourteous  and  improper  to  make  the  attempt.  At 
the  same  time,  it  was  discouraging,  in  the  teeth  of  Dr. 
M'Kinney's  information,  to  undertake  the  journey  with- 
out. To  be  obliged  to  retrace  our  steps,  and  make  the 
long  journey  to  the  capital  to  ask  permission,  would  be 
terrible ;  but  we  learned  that  the  ruins  were  removed 
some  distance  from  any  habitation  ;  we  did  not  believe 
that,  in  the  midst  of  a  formidable  revolution,  the  gov- 
ernment had  any  spare  soldiers  to  station  there  as  a 
guard.  From  what  we  knew  of  other  ruins,  we  had 

252  INCIDENTS     OF     TKAVEL. 

reason  to  believe  that  the  place  was  entirely  desolate  ;  we 
might  be  on  the  ground  before  any  one  knew  we  were  in 
the  neighbourhood,  and  then  make  terms  either  to  re- 
main or  evacuate,  as  the  case  might  require  ;  and  it  was 
worth  the  risk  if  we  got  one  day's  quiet  possession. 
With  this  uncertain  prospect  we  immediately  commenced 
repairing  and  making  preparations  for  our  journey. 

The  comfort  of  finding  ourselves  at  this  distant  place 
in  the  house  of  a  countryman  can  hardly  be  appreciated. 
In  dress,  manner,  appearance,  habits,  and  feelings,  the 
doctor  was  as  natural  as  if  we  had  met  him  at  home. 
The  only  difference  was  his  language,  which  he  could 
not  speak  connectedly,  but  interlarded  it  with  Spanish 
expressions.  He  moved  among  the  people,  but  he  was 
not  of  them ;  and  the  only  tie  that  bound  him  was  a 
dark-eyed  Spanish  beauty,  one  of  the  few  that  I  saw  in 
that  country  for  whom  a  man  might  forget  kindred  and 
home.  He  was  anxious  to  leave  the  country,  but  was 
trammelled  by  a  promise  made  his  mother-in-law  not 
to  do  so  during  her  life.  He  lived,  however,  in  such 
constant  anxiety,  that  he  hoped  she  would  release  him. 

Comitan,  the  frontier  town  of  Chiapas,  contains  a 
population  of  about  ten  thousand.  It  has  a  superb 
church,  and  well-filled  convenf  of  Dominican  friars. 
The  better  classes,  as  in  Central  America,  have  dwell- 
ing-houses in  the  town,  and  derive  their  subsistence 
from  the  products  of  their  haciendas,  which  they  visit 
from  time  to  time.  It  is  a  place  of  considerable  trade, 
and  has  become  so  by  the  effect  of  bad  laws ;  for,  in 
consequence  of  the  heavy  duties  on  regular  importations 
at  the  Mexican  ports  of  entry,  most  of  the  European 
goods  consumed  in  this  region  are  smuggled  in  from 
Balize  and  Guatimala.  The  proceeds  of  confiscations 
and  the  perquisites  of  officers  are  such  an  important 

UTILITY     OP     A     FRIEND.  253 

item  of  revenue  that  the  officers  are  vigilant,  and  the 
day  before  we  arrived  twenty  or  thirty  mule-loads  that 
had  been  seized  were  brought  into  Comitan ;  but  the 
profits  are  so  large  that  smuggling  is  a  regular  business, 
the  risk  of  seizure  being  considered  one  of  the  expenses 
of  carrying  it  on.  The  whole  community,  not  except- 
ing the  revenue  officers,  are  interested  in  it,  and  its  ef- 
fect upon  public  morals  is  deplorable.  The  markets, 
however,  are  but  poorly  supplied,  as  we  found.  We 
sent  for  a  washerwoman,  but  there  was  no  soap  in  the 
town.  "We  wanted  our  mules  shod,  but  there  was  only 
iron  enough  to  shoe  one.  Buttons  for  pantaloons,  in 
size,  made  up  for  other  deficiencies.  The  want  of  soap 
was  a  deplorable  circumstance.  For  several  days  we 
had  indulged  in  the  pleasing  expectation  of  having  our 
sheets  washed.  The  reader  may  perhaps  consider  us 
particular,  as  it  was  only  three  weeks  since  we  left 
Guatimala,  but  we  had  slept  in  wretched  cabildoes, 
and  on  the  ground,  and  they  had  become  of  a  very 
doubtful  colour.  In  time  of  trouble,  however,  com- 
mend me  to  the  sympathy  of  a  countryman.  Don  San- 
tiago, alias  Doctor  M'Kinney,  stood  by  us  in  our  hour 
of  need,  provided  us  with  soap,  and  our  sheets  were  pu- 

I  have  omitted  a  circumstance  which  from  the  time 
of  our  arrival  in  the  country  we  had  noticed  as  extra- 
ordinary. The  horses  and  mules  are  never  shod,  ex- 
cept perhaps  a  few  pleasure  horses  used  for  riding  about 
the  streets  of  Guatimala.  On  the  road,  however,  we 
were  advised,  after  we  had  set  out,  that  it  was  proper 
to  have  ours  shod ;  but  there  was  no  good  blacksmith 
except  at  Quezaltenango,  and  as  we  were  at  that  place 
during  a  fiesta  he  would  not  work.  In  crossing  long 
ranges  of  stony  mountains,  not  one  of  them  suffered  ex- 


254  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

cept  Mr.  Catherwood's  riding  mule,  and  her  hoofs  were 
worn  down  even  with  the  flesh. 

Pawling's  difficulties  were  now  over.  I  procured  for 
him  a  separate  passport,  and  he  had  before  him  a  clear 
road  to  Mexico  ;  but  his  interest  had  been  awakened ; 
he  was  loth  to  leave  us,  and  after  a  long  consultation 
and  deliberation  resolved  that  he  would  go  with  us  to 

PARTING.  255 


Parting.— Sotana.— A  Millionaire.— Ocosingo.— Ruins.— Beginning  of  the  Rainy 
Season. — A  Female  Guide. — Arrival  at  the  Ruins. — Stone  Figures. — Pyrami- 
dal Structures. — An  Arch. — A  Stucco  Ornament. — A  Wooden  Lintel.~-A  cu- 
rious Cave.  —  Buildings,  &c. —  A  Causeway.  —  More  Ruins.  —  Journey  to  Pa- 
lenque. — Rio  Grande. — Cascades. — Succession  of  Villages. — A  Maniac. — The 
Yahalon. — Tumbala. — A  wild  Place. — A  Scene  of  Grandeur  and  Sublimity. — 
Indian  Carriers. — A  steep  Mountain. — San  Pedro. 

ON  the  first  of  May,  with  a  bustle  and  confusion  like 
those  of  May-day  at  home,  we  moved  out  of  Don  San- 
tiago's house,  mounted,  and  bade  him  farewell.  Doubt- 
less his  daily  routines  have  not  since  been  broken  by 
the  visit  of  a  countryman,  and  communication  is  so  dif- 
ficult that  he  never  hears  from  home.  He  charged  us 
with  messages  to  his  friend  Doctor  Coleman,  United 
States  consul  at  Tobasco,  who  was  then  dead  ;  and 
the  reader  will  perhaps  feel  for  him  when  I  mention  that 
probably  a  copy  of  this  work,  which  I  intend  to  send 
him,  will  never  reach  his  hands. 

I  must  pass  over  the  next  stage  of  our  journey,  which 
was  through  a  region  less  mountainous,  but  not  less  sol- 
itary than  that  we  had  already  traversed.  The  first  af- 
ternoon we  stopped  at  the  hacienda  of  Sotana,  belong- 
ing to  a  brother-in-law  of  Don  Santiago,  in  a  soft  and 
lovely  valley,  with  a  chapel  attached,  and  bell  that  at 
evening  called  the  Indian  workmen,  women,  and  chil- 
dren to  vesper  prayers.  The  next  day,  at  the  abode 
of  Padre  Solis,  a  rich  old  cura,  short  and  broad,  living 
on  a  fine  hacienda,  we  dined  off  solid  silver  dishes, 
drank  out  of  silver  cups,  and  washed  in  a  silver  basin. 
He  had  lived  at  Palenque,  talked  of  Candones  or  un- 
baptized  Indians,  and  wanted  to  buy  my  macho,  prom- 


ising  to  keep  him  till  he  died  ;  and  the  only  thing  that 
relieves  me  from  self-reproach  in  not  securing  him  such 
pasture-grounds  is  the  recollection  of  the  padre's  weight. 

At  four  o'clock  on  the  third  day  we  reached  Ocosin- 
go,  likewise  in  a  beautiful  situation,  surrounded  by 
mountains,  with  a  large  church ;  and  in  the  wall  of  the 
yard  we  noticed  two  sculptured  figures  from  the  ruins 
we  proposed  to  visit,  somewhat  in  the  same  style  as  those 
at  Copan.  In  the  centre  of  the  square  was  a  magnificent 
Ceiba  tree.  We  rode  up  to  the  house  of  Don  Manuel 
Pasada,  the  prefet,  which,  with  an  old  woman-servant, 
we  had. entirely  to  ourselves,  the  family  being  at  his 
hacienda.  The  house  was  a  long  enclosure,  with  a 
shed  in  front,  and  furnished  with  bedsteads  made  of 
reeds  split  into  two,  and  supported  on  sticks  resting  in 
the  ground. 

The  alcalde  was  a  Mestitzo,  very  civil,  and  glad  to 
see  us,  and  spoke  of  the  neighbouring  ruins  in  the  most 
extravagant  terms,  but  said  they  were  so  completely 
buried  in  El  Monte  that  it  would  require  a  party  of  men 
for  two  or  three  days  to  cut  a  way  to  them  ;  and  he  laid 
great  stress  upon  a  cave,  the  mouth  of  which  was  com- 
pletely choked  up  with  stones,  and  which  communica- 
ted by  a  subterraneous  passage  with  the  old  city  of  Pa- 
lenque,  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  miles  distant.  He 
added  that  if  we  would  wait  a  few  days  to  make  prep- 
arations, he  and  all  the  village  would  go  with  us,  and 
make  a  thorough  exploration.  "We  told  him  that  first 
we  wished  to  make  preliminary  observations,  and  he 
promised  us  a  guide  for  the  next  morning. 

That  night  broke  upon  us  the  opening  storm  of  the 
rainy  season.  Peals  of  crashing  thunder  reverberated 
from  the  mountains,  lightning  illuminated  with  fearful 
flashes  the  darkness  of  night,  rain  poured  like  a  deluge 

RUINS     AT     OCOSINGO.  257 

upon  our  thatched  roof,  and  the  worst  mountains  in  the 
whole  road  were  yet  to  be  crossed.  All  our  efforts  to 
anticipate  the  rainy  season  had  been  fruitless. 

In  the  morning  dark  clouds  still  obscured  the  sky,  but 
they  fell  back  and  hid  themselves  before  the  beams  of 
the  rising  sun.  The  grass  and  trees,  parched  by  six 
months'  drought,  started  into  a  deeper  green,  and  the 
hills  and  mountains  seemed  glad.  The  alcalde,  I  be- 
lieve vexed  at  our  not  being  willing  to  make  an  imme- 
diate affair  of  exploring  the  ruins,  had  gone  away  for 
the  day  without  sending  us  any  guide,  and  leaving  word 
that  all  the  men  were  engaged  in  repairing  the  church. 
We  endeavoured  to  entice  one  of  them  away,  but  un- 
successfully. Returning,  we  found  that  our  piazza  was 
the  schoolhouse  of  the  village.  Half  a  dozen  children 
were  sitting  on  a  bench,  and  the  schoolmaster,  half  tip- 
sy, was  educating  them,  i.  e.,  teaching  them  to  repeat 
by  rote  the  formal  parts  of  the  church  service.  We 
asked  him  to  help  us,  but  he  advised  us  to  wait  a  day 
or  two  ;  in  that  country  nothing  could  be  done  vio- 
lenter.  We  were  excessively  vexed  at  the  prospect  of 
losing  the  day ;  and  at  the  moment  when  we  thought  we 
had  nothing  left  but  to  submit,  a  little  girl  came  to  tell 
us  that  a  woman,  on  whose  hacienda  the  ruins  were,  was 
then  about  going  to  visit  it,  and  offered  to  escort  us. 
Her  horse  was  already  standing  before  the  door,  and 
before  our  mules  were  ready  she  rode  over  for  us.  We. 
paid  our  respects,  gave  her  a  good  cigar,  and,  lighting 
all  around,  set  out.  She  was  a  pleasant  Mestitzo,  and 
had  a  son  with  her,  a  fine  lad  about  fifteen.  We  started 
at  half  past  nine,  and,  after  a  hot  and  sultry  ride,  at 
twenty  minutes  past  eleven  reached  her  rancho.  It 
was  a  mere  hut,  made  of  poles  and  plastered  with  mud, 
but  the  situation  was  one  of  those  that  warmed  us  to 

VOL.  II.— K  K 

258  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

country  life.  Our  kind  guide  sent  with  us  her  son  and 
an  Indian  with  his  machete,  and  in  half  an  hour  we 
were  at  the  ruins. 

Soon  after  leaving  the  rancho,  and  at  nearly  a  mile 
distant,  we  saw,  on  a  high  elevation,  through  openings 
in  trees  growing  around  it,  one  of  the  buildings  of 
Tonila,  the  Indian  name  in  this  region  for  stone  hou- 
ses. Approaching  it,  we  passed  on  the  plain  in  front 
two  stone  figures  lying  on  the  ground,  with  the  faces 
upward  ;  they  were  well  carved,  but  the  characters 
were  somewhat  faded  by  long  exposure  to  the  elements, 
although  still  distinct.  Leaving  them,  we  rode  on  to 
the  foot  of  a  high  structure,  probably  a  fortress,  ri- 
sing in  a  pyramidal  form,  with  five  spacious  terraces. 
These  terraces  had  all  been  faced  with  stone  and  stuc- 
coed, but  in  many  places  they  were  broken  and  over- 
grown with  grass  and  shrubs.  Taking  advantage  of 
one  of  the  broken  parts,  we  rode  up  the  first  pitch,  and, 
following  the  platform  of  the  terrace,  ascended  by  an- 
other breach  to  the  second,  and  in  the  same  way  to  the 
third.  There  we  tied  our  horses  and  climbed  up  on 
foot.  On  the  top  was  a  pyramidal  structure  overgrown 
with  trees,  supporting  the  building  which  we  had  seen 
from  the  plain  below.  Among  the  trees  were  several 
wild  lemons,  loaded  with  fruit,  and  of  very  fine  flavour, 
which,  if  not  brought  there  by  the  Spaniards,  must  be 
indigenous.  The  building  is  fifty  feet  front  and  thirty- 
five  feet  deep ;  it  is  constructed  of  stone  and  lime,  and 
the  whole  front  was  once  covered  with  stucco,  of  which 
part  of  the  cornice  and  mouldings  still  remain.  The 
entrance  is  by  a  doorway  ten  feet  wide,  which  leads 
into  a  sort  of  antechamber,  on  each  side  of  which  is  a 
small  doorway  leading  into  an  apartment  ten  feet 
square.  The  walls  of  these  apartments  were  once  cov- 

Elevation  of-theflroihlino  wrth  ih 
fVramidal  vSfourtwre  on  \vhu>h  n  Mt 


Ornamenlto  atage  scaJe  over  Door  mafkod  A  on  tlir.  I'iaii  . 



20  30 



the  opinion  that  it  must  ha  ire  been  trimmed  with  an  in- 
strument of  metal. 

The  opening  under  this  doorway  was  what  the  al- 
calde had  intended  as  the  mouth  of  the  cave  that  led  to 
Palenque,  and  which,  by-the-way,  he  had  told  us  was 
so  completely  buried  in  El  Monte  that  it  would  re- 
quire two  days  digging  and  clearing  to  reach  it.  Our 
guide  laughed  at  the  ignorance  prevailing  in  the  village 
in  regard  to  the  difficulty  of  reaching  it,  but  stoutly 
maintained  the  story  that  it  led  to  Palenque.  We  could 
not  prevail  on  him  to  enter  it.  A  short  cut  to  Palen- 
que was  exactly  what  we  wanted.  I  took  off  my  coat, 
and,  lying  down  on  my  breast,  began  to  crawl  under. 
When  I  had  advanced  about  half  the  length  of  my 
body,  I  heard  a  hideous  hissing  noise,  and  starting 
back,  saw  a  pair  of  small  eyes,  which  in  the  darkness 
shone  like  balls  of  fire.  The  precise  portion  of  time 
that  I  employed  in  backing  out  is  not  worth  mentioning. 
My  companions  had  heard  the  noise,  and  the  guide 
said  it  was  "  un  tigre."  I  thought  it  was  a  wildcat; 
but,  whatever  it  was,  we  determined  to  have  a  shot  at 
it.  We  took  it  for  granted 'that  the  animal  would  dash 
past  us,  and  in  a  few  moments  our  guns  and  pistols, 
swords  and  machetes,  were  ready ;  taking  our  positions, 
Pawling,  standing  close  against  the  wall,  thrust  under  a 
long  pole,  and  with  a  horrible  noise  out  fluttered  a  huge 
turkey-buzzard,  which  flapped  itself  through  the  build- 
ing and  took  refuge  in  another  chamber. 

This  peril  over,  I  renewed  the  attempt,  and  holding  a 
candle  before  me,  quickly  discovered  the  whole  extent 
of  the  cave  that  led  to  Palenque.  It  was  a  chamber  cor- 
responding with  the  dimensions  given  of  the  outer 
walls.  The  floor  was  encumbered  with  rubbish  two  or 
three  feet  deep,  the  walls  were  covered  with  stuccoed 

A     CAUSEWAY.  261 

figures,  among  which  that  of  a  monkey  was  conspicu- 
ous, and  against  the  back  wall,  among  curious  and  in- 
teresting ornaments,  were  two  figures  of  men  in  profile, 
with  their  faces  toward  each  other,  well  drawn  and  as 
large  as  life,  but  the  feet  concealed  by  the  rubbish  on 
the  floor.  .  Mr.  Catherwood  crawled  in  to  make  a  draw- 
ing of  them,  but,  on  account  of  the  smoke  from  the  can- 
dles, the  closeness,  and  excessive  heat,  it  was  impossi- 
ble to  remain  long  enough.  In  general  appearance  and 
character  they  were  the  same  as  we  afterward  saw  carv- 
ed on  stone  at  Palenque. 

By  means  of  a  tree  growing  close  against  the  wall  of 
this  building  I  climbed  to  the  top,  and  saw  another  ed- 
ifice very  near  and  on  the  top  of  a  still  higher  structure. 
We  climbed  up  to  this,  and  found  it  of  the  same  general 
plan,  but  more  dilapidated.  Descending,  we  passed  be- 
tween two  other  buildings  on  pyramidal  elevations,  and 
came  out  upon  an  open  table  which  had  probably  once 
been  the  site  of  the  city.  It  was  protected  on  all  sides 
by  the  same  high  terraces,  overlooking  for  a  great  dis- 
tance the  whole  country  round,  and  rendering  it  im- 
possible for  an  enemy  to  approach  from  any  quarter 
without  being  discovered.  Across  the  table  was  a  high 
and  narrow  causeway,  which  seemed  partly  natural  and 
partly  artificial,  and  at  some  distance  on  which  was  a 
mound,  with  the  foundations  of  a  building  that  had  prob- 
ably been  a  tower.  Beyond  this  the  causeway  extend- 
ed till  it  joined  a  range  of  mountains.  From  the  few 
Spanish  books  within  my  reach  I  have  not  been  able 
to  learn  anything  whatever  of  the  history  of  this  place, 
whether  it  existed  at  the  time  of  the  conquest  or  not. 
I  am  inclined  to  think,  however,  that  it  did,  and  that 
mention  is  made  of  it  in  some  Spanish  authors.  At  all 
events,  there  was  no  place  we  had  seen  which  gave  us 


such  an  idea  of  the  vastness  of  the  works  erected  by  the 
aboriginal  inhabitants.  Pressed  as  we  were,  we  deter- 
mined to  remain  and  make  a  thorough  exploration. 

It  was  nearly  dark  when  we  returned  to  the  village. 
Immediately  we  called  upon  the  alcalde,  but  found  on 
the  very  threshold  detention  and  delay.  He  repeated 
the  schoolmaster's  warning  that  nothing  could  be  done 
violenter.  It  would  take  two  days  to  get  together  men 
and  implements,  and  these  last  of  the  kind  necessary 
could  not  be  had  at  all.  There  was  not  a  crowbar  in 
the  place  ;  but  the  alcalde  said  one  could  be  made,  and 
in  the  same  breath  that  there  was  no  iron ;  there  was 
half  a  blacksmith,  but  no  iron  nearer  than  Tobasco, 
about  eight  or  ten  days'  journey.  While  we  were  with 
him  another  terrible  storm  came  on.  We  hurried  back 
in  the  midst  of,  it,  and  determined  forthwith  to  push  on 
to  Palenque.  I  am  strongly  of  opinion  that  there  is  at 
this  place  much  to  reward  the  future  traveller.  We 
were  told  that  there  were  other  ruins  about  ten  leagues 
distant,  along  the  same  range  of  mountains ;  and  it  has 
additional  interest  in  our  eyes,  from  the  circumstance 
that  this  would  be  the  best  point  from  which  to  attempt 
the  discovery  of  the  mysterious  city  seen  from  the  top  of 
the  Cordilleras. 

At  Ocosingo  we  were  on  the  line  of  travel  of  Captain 
Dupaix,  whose  great  work  on  Mexican  Antiquities,  pub- 
lished in  Paris  in  1834—5,  awakened  the  attention  of  the 
learned  in  Europe.  His  expedition  to  Palenque  was 
made  in  1807.  He  reached  this  place  from  the  city  of 
Mexico,  under  a  commission  from  the  government,  at- 
tended by  a  draughtsman  and  secretary,  and  part  of  a 
regiment  of  dragoons.  "Palenque,"  he  says,  "is  eight 
days'  march  from  Ocosingo.  The  journey  is  very  fa- 
tiguing. The  roads,  if  they  can  be  so.  called,  are  only 

JOURNEY     TO     PALENQUE.  £63 

narrow  and  difficult  paths,  which  wind  across  mountains 
and  precipices,  and  which  it  is  necessary  to  follow  some- 
times on  mules,  sometimes  on  foot,  sometimes  on  the 
shoulders  of  Indians,  and  sometimes  in  hammocks.  In 
some  places  it  is  necessary  to  pass  on*  bridges,  or,  rather, 
trunks  of  trees  badly  secured,  and  over  lands  covered 
with  wood,  desert  and  dispeopled,  and  to  sleep  in  the 
open  air,  excepting  a  very  few  villages  and  huts. 

"  We  had  with  us  thirty  or  forty  vigorous  Indians  to 
carry  our  luggage  and  hammocks.  After  having  expe- 
rienced in  this  long  and  painful  journey  every  kind  of 
fatigue  and  discomfort,  we  arrived,  thank  God,  at  the 
village  of  Palenque." 

This  was  now  the  journey  before  us ;  and,  according 
to  the  stages  we  had  arranged,  to  avoid  sleeping  out  at 
night,  it  was  to  be  made  in  five  instead  of  eight  days. 
The  terrible  rains  of  the  two  preceding  nights  had  in- 
fected us  with  a  sort  of  terror,  and  Pawling  was  com- 
pletely shaken  in  his  purpose  of  continuing  with  us. 
The  people  of  the  village  told  him  that  after  the  rains 
had  fairly  set  in  it  would  be  impossible  to  return,  and 
in  the  morning,  though  reluctantly,  he  determined 
abruptly  to  leave  us  and  go  back.  We  were  very  un- 
willing to  part  with  him,  but,  under  the  circumstances, 
could  not  urge  him  to  continue.  Our  luggage  and  lit- 
tle traps,  which  we  had  used  in  common,  were  separa- 
ted ;  Mr.  Catherwood  bade  him  good-by  and  rode  on  ; 
but  while  mounted,  and  in  the  act  of  shaking  hands  to 
pursue  our  opposite  roads,  I  made  him  a  proposition 
which  induced  him  again  to  change  his  determination, 
at  the  risk  of  remaining  on  the  other  side  of  the  mount- 
ains until  the  rainy  season  was  over.  In  a  few  minutes 
we  overtook  Mr.  Catherwood. 

The  fact  is,  we  had  some  apprehensions  from  the 


badness  of  the  roads.  Our  route  lay  through  an  Indian 
country,  in  parts  of  which  the  Indians  bore  a  notoriously 
bad  character.  We  had  no  dragoons,  our  party  of  at- 
tendants was  very  small,  and,  in  reality,  we  had  not  a 
single  man  upon  Whom  we  could  rely ;  under  which 
state  of  things  Pawling's  pistols  and  double-barrelled 
gun  were  a  matter  of  some  consequence. 

We  left  Ocosingo  at  a  quarter  past  eight.  So  little 
impression  did  any  of  our  attendants  make  upon  me, 
that  I  have  entirely  forgotten  every  one  of  them.  In- 
deed, this  was  the  case  throughout  the  journey.  In 
other  countries  a  Greek  muleteer,  an  Arab  boatman,  or 
a  Bedouin  guide  was  a  companion ;  here  the  people 
had  no  character,  and  nothing  in  which  we  took  any 
interest  except  their  backs.  Each  Indian  carried,  be- 
sides his  burden,  a  net  bag  containing  his  provisions  for 
the  road,  viz.,  a  few  tortillas,  and  large  balls  of  mashed 
Indian  corn  wrapped  in  leaves.  A  drinking  cup,  being 
half  a  calabash,  he  carried  sometimes  on  the  crown  of 
his  head.  At  every  stream  he  filled  his  cup  with  water, 
into  which  he  stirred  some  of  his  corn,  making  a  sort 
of  cold  porridge ;  and  this  throughout  the  country  is 
the  staff  of  life  for  the  Indian  on  a  journey.  In  half  an 
hour  we  passed  at  some  distance  on  our  right  large 
mounds,  formerly  structures  which  formed  part  of  the 
old  city.  At  nine  o'clock  we  crossed  the  Rio  Grande 
or  Huacachahoul,  followed  some  distance  on  the  bank, 
and  passed  three  cascades  spreading  over  the  rocky 
bed  of  the  river,  unique  and  peculiar  in  beauty,  and 
probably  many  more  of  the  same  character  were  break- 
ing unnoticed  and  unknown  in  the  wilderness  through 
which  it  rolled ;  but,  turning  up  a  rugged  mountain,  we 
lost  sight  of  it.  The  road  was  broken  and  mountain- 
ous. We  did  not  meet  a  single  person,  and  at  three 


o'clock,  moving  in  a  north-northwest  direction,  we  en- 
tered the  village  of  Huacachahoul,  standing  in  an  open 
situation,  surrounded  by  mountains,  and  peopled  entire- 
ly by  Indians,  wilder  and  more  savage  than  any  we  had 
yet  seen.  The  men  were  without  hats,  but  wore  their 
long  black  hair  reaching  to  their  shoulders ;  and  the  old 
men  and  women,  with  harsh  and  haggard  features  and 
dark  rolling  eyes,  had  a  rriost  unbaptized  appearance. 
They  gave  us  no  greetings,  and  their  wild  but  steady 
glare  made  us  feel  a  little  nervous.  A  collection  of  na- 
ked boys  and  girls  called  Mr.  Catherwood  "  Tata," 
mistaking  him  for  a  padre.  We  had  some  misgivings 
when  we  put  the  village  behind  us,  and  felt  ourselves 
enclosed  in  the  country  of  wild  Indians.  We  stop- 
ped an  hour  near  a  stream,  and  at  half  past  six  ar- 
rived at  Chillon,  where,  to  our  surprise  and  pleasure,  we 
found  a  sub-prefect,  a  white  man,  and  intelligent,  who 
had  travelled  to  San  Salvador,  and  knew  General  Mo- 
razan.  He  was  very  anxious  to  know  whether  there 
was  any  revolution  in  Ciudad  Real,  as,  with  a  pliancy 
becoming  an  office-holder,  he  wished  to  give  in  his  ad- 
hesion to  the  new  government. 

The  next  morning,  at  a  quarter  before  seven,  we 
started  with  a  new  set  of  Indians.  The  road  was  good 
to  Yahalon,  which  we  reached  at  ten  o'clock.  Before 
entering  it  we  met  a  young  Indian  girl  with  her  father, 
of  extraordinary  beauty  of  face,  in  the  costume  of  the 
country,  but  with  a  modest  expression  of  countenance, 
which  we  all  particularly  remarked  as  evidence  of  her 
innocence  and  unconsciousness  of  anything  wrong  in  her 
appearance.  Every  village  we  passed  was  most  pictu- 
resque in  position,  and  here  the  church  was  very  effect- 
ive ;  as  in  the  preceding  villages,  it  was  undergoing  re- 

VOL.  II.— L  L  23 


Here  we  were  obliged  to  take  another  set  of  Indians, 
and  perhaps  we  should  have  lost  the  day  but  for  the 
padre,  who  called  off  some  men  working  at  the  church. 
At  a  quarter  past  eleven  we  set  off  again ;  at  a  quarter 
before  one  we  stopped  at  the  side  of  a  stream  to  lunch. 
At  this  place  a  young  Indian  overtook  us,  with  a  very 
intelligent  face,  who  seated  himself  beside  me,  and  said, 
in  remarkably  good  Spanish,  that  we  must  beware  of 
the  Indians.  I  gave  him  some  tortillas.  He  broke  off 
a  small  piece,  and  holding  it  in  his  fingers,  looked  at 
me,  and  with  great  emphasis  said  he  had  eaten  enough ; 
it  was  of  no  use  to  eat ;  he  ate  all  he  could  get,  and  did 
not  grow  fat ;  and,  thrusting  his  livid  face  into  mine, 
told  me  to  see  how  thin  he  was.  His  face  was  calm, 
but  one  accidental  expression  betrayed  him  as  a  ma- 
niac ;  and  I  now  noticed  in  his  face,  and  all  over  his 
body,  white  spots  of  leprosy,  and  started  away  from  him. 
I  endeavoured  to  persuade  him  to  go  back  to  the  vil- 
lage, but  he  said  it  made  no  difference  whether  he  went  to 
the  village  or  not ;  he  wanted  a  remedio  for  his  thinness. 

Soon  after  we  came  upon  the  banks  of  the  River  of 
Yahalon.  It  was  excessively  hot,  the  river  as  pure  as 
water  could  be.  and  we  stopped  and  had  a  delightful  bath. 
After  this  we  commenced  ascending  a  steep  mountain, 
and  when  high  up  saw  the  poor  crazed  young  Indian 
standing  in  the  same  place  on  the  bank  of  the  river.  At 
half  past  five,  after  a  toilsome  ascent,  we  reached  the  top 
of  the  mountain,  and  rode  along  the  borders  of  a  table  of 
land  several  thousand  feet  high,  looking  down  into  an 
immense  valley,  and  turning  to  the  left,  around  the  corner 
of  the  forest,  entered  the  outskirts  of  Tumbala.  The 
huts  were  distributed  among  high,  rugged,  and  pictu- 
resque rocks,  which  had  the  appearance  of  having  once 
formed  the  crater  of  a  volcano.  Drunken  Indians  were 

TUMBALA.  267 

lying  in  the  path,  so  that  we  had  to  turn  out  to  avoid 
treading  on  them.  Riding  through  a  narrow  passage 
between  these  high  rocks,  we  came  out  upon  a  corner 
of  the  lofty  perpendicular  table  several  thousand  feet 
high,  on  which  stood  the  village  of  Tumbala.  In  front 
were  the  church  and  convent;  the  square  was  filled 
with  wild-looking  Indians  preparing  for  a  fiesta,  and  on 
the  very  corner  of  the  immense  table  was  a  high  coni- 
cal peak,  crowned  with  the  ruins  of  a  church.  Alto- 
gether it  was  the  wildest  and  most  extraordinary  place 
we  had  yet  seen,  and  though  not  consecrated  by  asso- 
ciations, for  unknown  ages  it  had  been  the  site  of  an 
Indian  village. 

It  was  one  of  the  circumstances  of  our  journey  in 
this  country  that  every  hour  and  day  produced  some- 
thing new.  We  never  had  any  idea  of  the  character 
of  the  place  we  were  approaching  until  we  entered  it, 
and  one  surprise  followed  close  upon  another.  On  one 
corner  of  the  table  of  land  stood  the  cabildo.  The  jus- 
titia  was  the  brother  of  our  silver-dish  friend  Padre  So- 
lis,  as  poor  and  energetic  as  the  padre  was  rich  and 
inert.  At  the  last  village  we  had  been  told  that  it 
would  be  impossible  to  procure  Indians  for  the  next 
day  on  account  of  the  fiesta,  and  had  made  up  our 
minds  to  remain ;  but  my  letters  from  the  Mexican  au- 
thorities were  so  effective,  that  immediately  the  justitia 
held  a  parley  with  forty  or  fifty  Indians,  and,  breaking 
off  occasionally  to  cuff  one  of  them,  our  journey  was 
arranged  through  to  Palenque  in  three  days,  and  the 
money  paid  and  distributed.  Although  the  wildness 
of  the  Indians  made  us  feel  a  little  uncomfortable,  we 
almost  regretted  this  unexpected  promptness ;  but  the 
justitia  told  us  we  had  come  at  a  fortunate  moment,  for 
many  of  the  Indians  of  San  Pedro,  who  were  notori- 


ously  a  bad  set,  were  then  in  the  village,  but  he  could 
select  those  he  knew,  and  would  send  an  alguazil  of 
his  own  with  us  all  the  way.  As  he  did  not  give  us 
any  encouragement  to  remain,  and  seemed  anxious  to 
hurry  us  on,  we  made  no  objections,  and  in  our  anxiety 
to  reach  the  end  of  our  journey,  had  a  superstitious  ap- 
prehension of  the  effect  of  any  voluntary  delay. 

With  the  little  of  daylight  that  remained,  he  con- 
ducted us  along  the  same  path  trodden  by  the  Indians 
centuries  before,  to  the  top  of  the  cone  rising  at  the  cor- 
ner of  the  table  of  land,  from  which  we  looked  down  on 
one  side  into  an  immense  ravine  several  thousand  feet 
in  depth,  and  on  the  other,  over  the  top  of  a  great 
mountain  range,  we  saw  the  village  of  San  Pedro,  the 
end  of  our  next  day's  journey,  and  beyond,  over  the 
range  of  the  mountains  of  Palenque,  the  Lake  of  Ter- 
minos  and  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  It  was  one  of  the 
grandest,  wildest,  and  most  sublime  scenes  I  ever  be- 
held. On  the  top  were  ruins  of  a  church  and  tower, 
probably  once  used  as  a  lookout,  and  near  it  were  thir- 
teen crosses  erected  over  the  bodies  of  Indians,  who, 
a  century  before,  tied  the  hands  and  feet  of  the  curate, 
and  threw  him  down  the  precipice,  and  were  killed  and 
buried  on  the  spot.  Every  year  new  crosses  are  set  up 
over  their  bodies,  to  keep  alive  in  the  minds  of  the  In- 
dians the  fate  of  murderers.  All  around,  on  almost  in- 
accessible mountain  heights,  and  in  the  deepest  ravines, 
the  Indians  have  their  rnilpas  or  corn-patches,  living  al- 
most as  when  the  Spaniards  broke  in  upon  them,  and 
the  justitia  pointed  with  his  finger  to  a  region  still  oc- 
cupied by  the  "  unbaptized  :"  the  same  strange  people 
whose  mysterious  origin  no  man  knows,  and  whose  des- 
tiny no  man  can  foretell.  Among  all  the  wild  scenes 
of  our  Hurried  tour,  none  is  more  strongly  impressed 


upon  ray  mind  than  this ;  but  with  the  untamed  Indi- 
ans around,  Mr.  Catherwood  was  too  much  excited  and 
too  nervous  to  attempt  to  make  a  sketch  of  it. 

At  dark  we  returned  to  the  cabildo,  which  was  dec- 
orated with  evergreens  for  the  fiesta,  and  at  one  end 
was  a  table,  with  a  figure  of  the  Virgin  fantastically 
dressed,  sitting  under  an  arbour  of  pine-leaves. 

In  the  evening  we  visited  the  padre,  the  delegate  of 
Padre  Solis,  a  gentlemanly  young  man  from  Ciudad 
Real,  who  was  growing  as  round,  and  bade  fair  to  grow 
as  rich  out  of  this  village  as  Padre  Solis  himself.  He 
and  the  justitia  were  the  only  white  men  in  the  place. 
We  returned  to  the  cabildo ;  the  Indians  came  in  to 
bid  the  justitia  buenos  noces,  kissed  the  back  of  his 
hand,  and  we  were  left  to  ourselves. 

Before  daylight  we  were  roused  by  an  irruption  of 
Indian  carriers  with  lighted  torches,  who,  while  we 
were  still  in  bed,  began  tying  on  the  covers  of  our 
trunks  to  carry  them  off.  At  this  place  the  mechanic 
arts  were  lower  than  in  any  other  we  had  visited. 
There  was  not  a  rope  of  any  kind  in  the  village  ;  the 
fastenings  of  the  trunks  and  the  straps  to  go  around  the 
forehead  were  all  of  bark  strings ;  and  here  it  was  cus- 
tomary for  those  who  intended  to  cross  the  mountains 
to  take  hammacas  or  sillas ;  the  former  being  a  cush- 
ioned chair,  with  a  long  pole  at  each  end,  to  be  borne 
by  four  Indians  before  and  behind,  the  traveller  sitting 
with  his  face  to  the  side,  and,  as  the  justitia  told  us,  only 
used  by  very  heavy  men  and  padres ;  and  the  latter  an 
armchair,  to  be  carried  on  the  back  of  an  Indian.  We 
had  a  repugnance  to  this  mode  of  conveyance,  consid- 
ering, though  unwilling  to  run  any  risk,  that  where  an 
Indian  could  climb  with  one  of  us  on  his  back  we  could 
climb  alone,  and  set  out  without  either  silla  or  hammaca. 

270  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

Immediately  from  the  village  the  road,  which  was  a 
mere  opening  through  the  trees,  commenced  descend- 
ing, and  very  soon  we  came  to  a  road  of  palos  or  sticks, 
like  a  staircase,  so  steep  that  it  was  dangerous  to  ride 
down  them.  But  for  these  sticks,  in  the  rainy  season 
the  road  would  be  utterly  impassable.  Descending  con- 
stantly, at  a  little  after  twelve  we  reached  a  small  stream, 
where  the  Indians  washed  their  sweating  bodies. 

From  the  banks  of  this  river  we  commenced  ascend- 
ing the  steepest  mountain  I  ever  knew.  Riding  was  out 
of  the  question  ;  and  encumbered  with  sword  and  spurs, 
and  leading  our  mules,  which  sometimes  held  back,  and 
sometimes  sprang  upon  us,  the  toil  was  excessive.  Ev- 
ery few  minutes  we  were  obliged  to  stop  and  lean 
against  a  tree  or  sit  down.  The  Indians  did  not  speak 
a  word  of  any  language  but  their  own.  "We  could  hold 
no  communication  whatever  with  them,  and  could  not 
understand  how  far  it  was  to  the  top.  At  length  we 
saw  up  a  steep  pitch  before  us  a  rude  cross,  which  we 
hailed  as  being  the  top  of  the  mountain.  "We  climbed 
up  to  it,  and,  after  resting  a  moment,  mounted  our 
mules,  but,  before  riding  a  hundred  yards,  the  descent 
began,  and  immediately  we  were  obliged  to  dismount. 
The  descent  was  steeper  than  the  ascent.  In  a  certain 
college  in  our  country  a  chair  was  transmitted  as  an 
heirloom  to  the  laziest  man  in  the  senior  class.  One 
held  it  by  unanimous  consent ;  but  he  was  seen  run- 
ning down  hill,  was  tried  and  found  guilty,  but  avoid- 
ed sentence  by  the  frank  avowal  that  a  man  pushed 
him,  and  he  was  too  lazy  to  stop  himself.  So  it  was 
with  us.  It  was  harder  work  to  resist  than  to  give  way. 
Our  mules  came  tumbling  after  us ;  and  after  a  most 
rapid,  hot,  and  fatiguing  descent,  we  reached  a  stream 
covered  with  leaves  and  insects.  Here  two  of  our  In- 

SAN    PEDRO.  271 

dians  left  us  to  return  that  night  to  Tumbala !  Our  la- 
bour was  excessive ;  what  must  it  have  been  to  them ! 
though  probably  accustomed  to  carry  loads  from  their 
boyhood,  they  suffered  less  than  we ;  and  the  free- 
dom of  their  naked  limbs  relieved  them  from  the  heat 
and  confinement  which  we  suffered  from  clothes  wet 
with  perspiration.  It  was  the  hottest  day  we  had  expe- 
rienced in  the  country.  We  had  a  farther  violent  de- 
scent through  woods  of  almost  impenetrable  thickness, 
and  at  a  quarter  before  four  reached  San  Pedro.  Look- 
ing back  over  the  range  we  had  just  crossed,  we  saw 
Tumbala,  and  the  towering  point  on  which  we  stood 
the  evening  before,  on  a  right  line,  only  a  few  miles  dis- 
tant, but  by  the  road  twenty-seven. 

If  a  bad  name  could  kill  a  place,  San  Pedro  was 
damned.  From  the  hacienda  of  Padre  Solis  to  Tum- 
bala, every  one  we  met  cautioned  us  against  the  In- 
dians of  San  Pedro.  Fortunately,  however,  nearly  the 
whole  village  had  gone  to  the  fete  at  Tumbala.  There 
was  no  alcalde,  no  alguazils  ;  a  few  Indians  were  lying 
about  in  a  state  of  utter  nudity,  and  when  we  looked 
into  the  huts  the  women  ran  away,  probably  alarmed 
at  seeing  men  with  pantaloons.  The  cabildo  was  occu- 
pied by  a  travelling  party,  with  cargoes  of  sugar  for  To- 
basco.  The  leaders  of  the  party  and  owners  of  the  car- 
goes were  two  Mestitzoes,  having  servants  well  armed, 
with  whom  we  formed  an  acquaintance  and  tacit  alli- 
ance. One  of  the  best  houses  was  empty ;  the  propri- 
etor, with  his  family  and  household  furniture,  except 
reed  bedsteads  fixed  in  the  ground,  had  gone-  to  the 
fiesta.  We  took  possession,  and  piled  our  luggage  in- 

Without  giving  us  any  notice,  our  men  deserted  us  to 
return  to  Tumbala,  and  we  were  left  alone.  We  could 


not  speak  the  language,  and  could  get  nothing  for  the 
mules  or  for  ourselves  to  eat ;  but,  through  the  leader  of 
the  sugar  party,  we  learned  that  a  new  set  of  men  would 
be  forthcoming  in  the  morning  to  take  us  on.  With 
the  heat  and  fatigue  I  had  a  violent  headache.  The 
mountain  for  the  next  day  was  worse,  and,  afraid  of  the 
effort,  and  of  the  danger  of  breaking  down  on  the  road, 
Mr.  C.  and  Pawling  endeavoured  to  procure  a  ham- 
maca  or  silla,  which  was  promised  for  the  morning. 

A     WILD     COUNTRY.  273 


A  wild  Country.— Ascent  of  a  Mountain.— Ride  in  a  Silla.— A  precarious  Situa- 
tion.— The  Descent.— Rancho  of  Nopa.— Attacks  of  Moschetoes. — Approach 
to  Palenque. — Pasture  Grounds. — Village  of  Palenque. — A  crusty  Official. — A 
courteous  Reception. — Scarcity  of  Provisions. — Sunday.— Cholera. — Another 
Countryman. — The  Conversion,  Apostacy,  and  Recovery  of  the  Indians. — River 
ChacamaL — The  Caribs. — Ruins  of  Palenque. 

EARLY  the  next  morning  the  sugar  party  started,  and 
at  five  minutes  before  seven  we  followed,  with  silla  and 
men,  altogether  our  party  swelled  to  twenty  Indians. 

The  country  through  which  we  were  now  travelling 
was  as  wild  as  before  the  Spanish  conquest,  and  with- 
out a  habitation  until  we  reached  Palenque.  The  road 
was  through  a  forest  so  overgrown  with  brush  and  un- 
derwood as  to  be  impenetrable,  and  the  branches  were 
trimmed  barely  high  enough  to  admit  a  man's  travelling 
under  them  on  foot,  so  that  on  the  backs  of  our  mules 
we  were  constantly  obliged  to  bend  our  bodies,  and 
even  to  dismount.  In  some  places,  for  a  great  distance 
around,  the  woods  seemed  killed  by  the  heat,  the  foli- 
age withered,  the  leaves  dry  and  crisp,  as  if  burned  by 
the  sun  ;  and  a  tornado  had  swept  the  country,  of  which 
no  mention  was  made  in  the  San  Pedro  papers. 

We  met  three  Indians  carrying  clubs  in  their  hands, 
naked  except  a  small  piece  of  cotton  cloth  around  the 
loins  and  passing  between  the  legs,  one  of  them,  young, 
tall,  and  of  admirable  symmetry  of  form,  looking  the 
freeborn  gentleman  of  the  woods.  Shortly  afterward 
we  passed  a  stream,  where  naked  Indians  were  set- 
ting rude  nets  for  fish,  wild  and  primitive  as  in  the  first 
ages  of  savage  life. 

At  twenty  minutes  past  ten  we  commenced  ascending 
VOL.  II.— MM 

274  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

the  mountain.  It  was  very  hot,  and  I  can  give  no  idea 
of  the  toil  of  ascending  these  mountains.  Our  mules 
could  barely  clamber  up  with  their  saddles  only.  "We 
disencumbered  ourselves  of  sword,  spurs,  and  all  use- 
less trappings ;  in  fact,  came  down  to  shirt  and  panta- 
loons, and  as  near  the  condition  of  the  Indians  as  we 
could.  Our  procession  would  have  been  a  spectacle  in 
Broadway.  First  were  four  Indians,  each  with  a  rough 
oxhide  box,  secured  by  an  iron  chain  and  large  padlock, 
on  his  back ;  then  Juan,  with  only  a  hat  and  pair  of 
thin  cotton  drawers,  driving  two  spare  mules,  and  car- 
rying a  double-barrelled  gun  over  his  naked  shoulders  ; 
then  ourselves,  each  one  driving  before  him  or  leading 
his  own  mule ;  then  an  Indian  carrying  the  silla,  with 
relief  carriers,  and  several  boys  bearing  small  bags  of 
provisions,  the  Indians  of  the  silla  being  much  surprised 
at  our  not  using  them  according  to  contract  and  the 
price  paid.  Though  toiling  excessively,  we  felt  a  sense 
of  degradation  at  being  carried  on  a  man's  shoulders. 
At  that  time  I  was  in  the  worst  condition  of  the  three, 
and  the  night  before  had  gone  to  bed  at  San  Pedro 
without  supper,  which  for  any  of  us  was  sure  evidence 
of  being  in  a  bad  way. 

We  had  brought  the  silla  with  us  merely  as  a  meas- 
ure of  precaution,  with  much  expectation  of  being 
obliged  to  use  it ;  but  at  a  steep  pitch,  which  made  my 
head  almost  burst  to  think  of  climbing,  I  resorted  to  it 
for  the  first  time.  It  was  a  large,  clumsy  armchair,  put 
together  with  wooden  pins  and  bark  strings.  The  In- 
dian who  was  to  carry  me,  like  all  the  others,  was  small, 
not  more  than  five  feet  seven,  very  thin,  but  symmetri- 
cally formed.  A  bark  strap  was  tied  to  the  arms  of 
the  chair,  and,  sitting  down,  he  placed  his  back  against 
the  back  of  the  chair,  adjusted  the  length  of  the  strings, 


and  smoothed  the  bark  across  his  forehead  with  a  little 
cushion  to  relieve  the  pressure.  An  Indian  on  each 
side  lifted  it  up,  and  the  carrier  rose  on  his  feet,  stood 
still  a  moment,  threw  me  up  once  or  twice  to  adjust  me 
on  his  shoulders,  and  set  off  with  one  man  on  each  side. 
It  was  a  great  relief,  but  I  could  feel  every  movement, 
even  to  the  heaving  of  his  chest.  The  ascent  was  one 
of  the  steepest  on  the  whole  road.  In  a  few  minutes  he 
stopped  and  sent  forth  a  sound,  usual  with  Indian  car- 
riers, between  a  whistle  and  a  blow,  always  painful  to 
my  ears,  but  which  I  never  felt  so  disagreeably  before. 
My  face  was  turned  backward ;  I  could  not  see  where 
he  was  going,  but  observed  that  the  Indian  on  the  left 
fell  back.  Not  to  increase  the  labour  of  carrying  me, 
I  sat  as  still  as  possible ;  but  in  a  few  minutes,  looking 
over  my  shoulder,  saw  that  we  were  approaching  the 
edge  of  a  precipice  more  than  a  thousand  feet  deep. 
Here  I  became  very  anxious  to  dismount ;  but  I  could 
not  speak  intelligibly,  and  the  Indians  could  or  would 
not  understand  my  signs.  My  carrier  moved  along 
carefully,  with  his  left  foot  first,  feeling  that  the  stone 
on  which  he  put  it  down  was  steady  and  secure  before 
he  brought  up  the  other,  and  by  degrees,  after  a  partic- 
ularly careful  movement,  brought  both  feet  up  within 
half  a  step  of  the  edge  of  the  precipice,  stopped,  and 
gave  a  fearful  whistle  and  blow.  I  rose  and  fell  with 
every  breath,  felt  his  body  trembling  under  me,  and  his 
knees  seemed  giving  way.  The  precipice  was  awful, 
and  the  slightest  irregular  movement  on  my  part  might 
bring  us  both  down  together.  I  would  have  given  him 
a  release  in  full  for  the  rest  of  the  journey  to  be  off  his 
back;  but  he  started  again,  and  with  the  same  care  as- 
cended several  steps,  so  close  to  the  edge  that  even  on 
the  back  of  a  mule  it  would  have  been  very  uncomfort- 


able.  My  fear  lest  he  should  break  down  or  stumble  was 
excessive.  To  my  extreme  relief,  the  path  turned  away  ; 
but  I  had  hardly  congratulated  myself  upon  my  escape 
before  he  descended  a  few  steps.  This  was  much  worse 
than  ascending ;  if  he  fell,  nothing  could  keep  me  from 
going  over  his  head ;  but  I  remained  till  he  put  me 
down  of  his  own  accord.  The  poor  fellow  was  wet 
with  perspiration,  and  trembled  in  every  limb.  Anoth- 
er stood  ready  to  take  me  up,  but  I  had  had  enough. 
Pawling  tried  it,  but  only  for  a  short  time.  It  was  bad 
enough  to  see  an  Indian  toiling  with  a  dead  weight  on 
his  back ;  but  to  feel  him  trembling  under  one's  own 
body,  hear  his  hard  breathing,  see  the  sweat  rolling 
down  him,  and  feel  the  insecurity  of  the  position,  made 
this  a  mode  of  travelling  which  nothing  but  constitu- 
tional laziness  and  insensibility  could  endure.  Walk- 
ing, or  rather  climbing,  stopping  very  often  to  rest, 
and  riding  when  it  was  at  all  practicable,  we  reached 
a  thatched  shed,  where  we  wished  to  stop  for  the  night, 
but  there  was  no  water. 

We  could  not  understand  how  far  it  was  to  Nopa, 
our  intended  stopping-place,  which  we  supposed  to  be 
on  the  top  of  the  mountain.  To  every  question  the  In- 
dians answered  una  legua.  Thinking  it  could  not  be 
much  higher,  we  continued.  For  an  hour  more  we  had 
a  very  steep  ascent,  and  then  commenced  a  terrible 
descent.  At  this  time  the  sun  had  disappeared ;  dark 
clouds  overhung  the  woods,  and  thunder  rolled*  heavily 
on  the  top  of  the  mountain.  As  we  descended  a  heavy 
wind  swept  through  the  forest ;  the  air  was  filled  with 
dry  leaves  ;  branches  were  snapped  and  broken,  trees 
bent,  and  there  was  every  appearance  of  a  violent  tor- 
nado. To  hurry  down  on  foot  was  out  of  the  question. 
We  were  so  tired  that  it  was  impossible  ;  and,  afraid  of 

ATTACKS     OF     MoSCHETOES.  277 

being  caught  on.  the  mountain  by  a  hurricane  and  del- 
uge of  rain,  we  spurred  down  as  fast  as  we  could  go. 
It  was  a  continued  descent,  without  any  relief,  stony, 
and  very  steep.  Very  often  the  mules  stopped,  afraid 
to  go  on ;  and  in  one  place  the  two  empty  mules  bolted 
into  the  thick  woods  rather  than  proceed.  Fortunately 
for  the  reader,  this  is  our  last  mountain,  and  I  can  end 
honestly  with  a  climax  :  it  was  the  worst  mountain  I 
ever  encountered  in  that  or  any  other  country,  and,  un- 
der our  apprehension  of  the  storm,  I  will  venture  to  say 
that  no  travellers  ever  descended  in  less  time.  At  a 
quarter  before  five  we  reached  the  plain.  The  mount- 
ain was  hidden  by  clouds,  and  the  storm  was  now  ra- 
ging above  us.  We  crossed  a  river,  and  continuing 
along  it  through  a  thick  forest,  reached  the  rancho  of 

It  was  situated  in  a  circular  clearing  about  one  hun- 
dred feet  in  diameter,  near  the  river,  with  the  forest 
around  so  thick  with  brush  and  underwood  that  the 
mules  could  not  penetrate  it,  and  with  no  opening  but 
for  the  passage  of  the  road  through  it.  The  rancho 
was  merely  a  pitched  roof  covered  with  palm-leaves, 
and  supported  by  four  trunks  of  trees.  All  around 
were  heaps  of  snail-shells,  and  the  ground  of  the  rancho 
was  several  inches  deep  with  ashes,  the  remains  of  fires 
for  cooking  them.  We  had  hardly  congratulated  our- 
selves upon  our  arrival  at  such  a  beautiful  spot,  before 
we  suffered  such  an  onslaught  of  moschetoes  as  we  had 
not  before  experienced  in  the  country.  We  made  a 
fire,  and,  with  appetites  sharpened  by  a  hard  day's 
work,  sat  down  on  the  grass  to  dispose  of  a  San  Pedro 
fowl ;  but  we  were  obliged  to  get  up,  and  while  one 
hand  was  occupied  with  eatables,  use  the  other  to  brush 
off  the  venomous  insects.  We  soon  saw  that  we  had 


278  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

bad  prospects  for  the  night,  lighted  fires  all  around  the 
rancho,  and  smoked  inordinately.  We  were  in  no  hur- 
ry to  lie  down,  and  sat  till  a  late  hour,  consoling  our- 
selves with  the  reflection  that,  but  for  the  moschetoes, 
our  satisfaction  would  be  beyond  all  bounds.  The  dark 
border  of  the  clearing  was  lighted  up  by  fireflies  of  ex- 
traordinary size  and  brilliancy  darting  among  the  trees, 
not  flashing  and  disappearing,  but  carrying  a  steady 
light ;  and,  except  that  their  course  was  serpentine, 
seeming  like  shooting  stars.  In  different  places  there 
were  two  that  remained  stationary,  emitting  a  pale  but 
beautiful  light,  and  seemed  like  rival  belles  holding 
levees.  The  fiery  orbs  darted  from  one  to  the  other  ; 
and  when  one,  more  daring  than  the  rest,  approached 
too  near,  the  coquette  withdrew  her  light,  and  the  flut- 
terer  went  off.  ,  One,  however,  carried  all  before  her, 
and  at  one  time  we  counted  seven  hovering  around  her. 
At  length  we  prepared  for  sleep.  Hammocks  would 
leave  us  exposed  on  every  side  to  the  merciless  attacks 
of  the  moschetoes,  and  we  spread  our  mats  on  the 
ground.  We  did  not  undress.  Pawling,  with  a  great 
deal  of  trouble,  rigged  his  sheets  into  a  moscheto-net, 
but  it  was  so  hot  that  he  could  not  breathe  under  them, 
and  he  roamed  about  or  was  in  the  river  nearly  all  night. 
The  Indians  had  occupied  themselves  in  catching  snails 
and  cooking  them  for  supper,  and  then  lay  down  to 
sleep  on  the  banks  of  the  river ;  but  at  midnight,  with 
sharp  thunder  and  lightning,  the  rain  broke  in  a  deluge, 
and  they  all  came  under  the  shed,  and  there  they  lay 
perfectly  naked,  mechanically,  and  without  seeming  to 
disturb  themselves,  slapping  their  bodies  with  their 
hands.  The  incessant  hum  and  bite  of  the  insects  kept 
us  in  a  constant  state  of  wakefulness  and  irritation. 
Our  bodies  we  could  protect,  but  with  a  covering  over 

APPROACH  TO  PALENQUE.         279 

the  face  the  heat  was  insufferable.  Before  daylight  I 
walked  to  the  river,  which  was  broad  and  shallow,  and 
stretched  myself  out  on  the  gravelly  bottom,  where  the 
water  was  barely  deep  enough  to  run  over  my  body.  It 
was  the  first  comfortable  moment  I  had  had.  My  heat- 
ed body  became  cooled,  and  I  lay  till  daylight.  When 
I  rose  to  dress  they  came  upon  me  with  appetites  whet- 
ted by  a  spirit  of  vengeance.  Our  day's  work  had  been 
tremendously  hard,  but  the  night's  was  worse.  The 
morning  air,  however,  was  refreshing,  and  as  day  dawn- 
ed our  tormentors  disappeared.  Mr.  Catherwood  had 
suffered  least,  but  in  his  restlessness  he  had  lost  from 
his  finger  a  precious  emerald  ring,  which  he  had  worn 
for  many  years,  and  prized  for  associations.  We  re- 
mained some  time  looking  for  it,  and  at  length  mount- 
ed and  made  our  last  start  for  Palenque.  The  road  was 
level,  but  the  woods  were  still  as  thick  as  on  the  mount- 
ain. At  a  quarter  before  eleven  we  reached  a  path 
which  led  to  the  ruins,  or  somewhere  else.  We  had 
abandoned  the  intention  of  going  directly  to  the  ruins ; 
for,  besides  that  we  were  in  a  shattered  condition,  we 
could  not  communicate  at  all  with  our  Indians,  and 
probably  they  did  not  know  where  the  ruins  were.  At 
length  we  came  out  upon  an  open  plain,  and  looked 
back  at  the  range  we  had  crossed,  running  off  to  Peten 
and  the  country  of  unbaptized  Indians. 

As  we  advanced  we  came  into  a  region  of  fine  pas- 
ture grounds,  and  saw  herds  of  cattle.  The  grass  show- 
ed the  effect  of  early  rains,  and  the  picturesque  appear- 
ance of  the  country  reminded  me  of  many  a  scene  at 
home  ;  but  there  was  a  tree  of  singular  beauty  that  was 
a  stranger,  having  a  high,  naked  trunk  and  spreading 
top,  with  leaves  of  vivid  green,  covered  with  yellow 
flowers.  Continuing  carelessly,  and  stopping  from  time 

280  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

to  time  to  enjoy  the  smiling  view  around,  and  realize  our 
escape  from  the  dark  mountains  behind,  we  rose  upon  a 
slight  table  of  land  and  saw  the  village  before  us,  consist- 
ing of  one  grass-grown  street,  unbroken  even  by  a  mule- 
path,  with  a  few  straggling  white  houses  on  each  side, 
on  a  slight  elevation  at  the  farther  end  a  thatched  church, 
with  a  rude  cross  and  belfry  before  it.  A  boy  could  roll 
on  the  grass  from  the  church  door  out  of  the  village.  In 
fact,  it  was  the  most  dead-and-alive  place  I  ever  saw  •- 
but,  coming  from  villages  thronged  with  wild  Indians, 
its  air  of  repose  was  most  grateful  to  us.  In  the  suburbs 
were  scattered  Indian  huts ;  and  as  we  rode  into  the 
street,  eight  or  ten  white  people,  men  and  women,  came 
out,  more  than  we  had  seen  since  we  left  Comitan,  and 
the  houses  had  a  comfortable  and  respectable  appear- 
ance. In  one  ef  them  lived  the  alcalde,  a  white  man, 
about  sixty,  dressed  in  white  cotton  drawers,  and  shirt 
outside,  respectable  in  his  appearance,  with  a  stoop  in 
his  shoulders,  but  the  expression  of  his  face  was  very 
doubtful.  With  what  I  intended  as  a  most  captivating 
manner,  I  offered  him  my  passport ;  but  we  had  dis- 
turbed him  at  his  siesta ;  he  had  risen  wrong  side  first ; 
and,  looking  me  steadily  in  the  face,  he  asked  me  what 
he  had  to  do  with  rny  passport.  This  I  could  not  an- 
swer ;  and  he  went  on  to  say  that  he  had  nothing  to  do 
with  it,  and  did  not  want  to  have ;  we  must  go  to  the 
prefeto.  Then  he  turned  round  two  or  three  times  in  a 
circle,  to  show  he  did  not  care  what  we  thought  of  him ; 
and,  as  if  conscious  of  what  was  passing  in  our  minds, 
volunteered  to  add  that  complaints  had  been  made 
against  him  before,  but  it  was  of  no  use  ;  they  couldn't 
remove  him,  and  if  they  did  he  didn't  care. 

This  greeting  at  the  end  of  our  severe  journey  was 
rather  discouraging,  but  it  was  important  for  us  not  to 

A     CRABBED     OFFICIAL.  281 

have  any  difficulty  with  this  crusty  official ;  and,  endeav- 
ouring to  hit  a  vulnerable  point,  told  him  that  we  wished 
to  stop  a  few  days  to  rest,  and  should  be  obliged  to 
purchase  many  things.  We  asked  him  if  there  was 
any  bread  in  the  village ;  he  answered,  "  no  hay," 
"  there  is  none  ;"  corn  ?  "  no  hay  ;"  coffee  ?  "  no  hay ;" 
chocolate  ?  "  no  hay."  His  satisfaction  seemed  to  in- 
crease as  he  was  still  able  to  answer  "  no  hay ;"  but 
our  unfortunate  inquiries  for  bread  roused  his  ire.  In- 
nocently, and  without  intending  any  offence,  we  be- 
trayed our  disappointment ;  and  Juan,  looking  out  for 
himself,  said  that  we  could  not  eat  tortillas.  This  he 
recurred  to,  repeated  several  times  to  himself,  and  to 
every  new-comer  said,  with  peculiar  emphasis,  they 
can't  eat  tortillas.  Following  it  up,  he  said  there  was 
an  oven  in  the  place,  but  no  flour,  and  the  baker  went 
away  seven  years  before ;  tne  people  there  could  do 
without  bread.  To  change  the  subject,  and  determined 
not  to  complain,  I  threw  out  the  conciliatory  remark, 
that,  at  all  events,  we  were  glad  to  escape  from  the  rain 
on  the  mountains,  which  he  answered  by  asking  if  we 
expected  anything  better  in  Palenque,  and  he  repeated 
with  great  satisfaction  an  expression  common  in  the 
mouths  of  Palenquians :  "  tres  meres  de  agua,  tres  meres 
aguacero,  y  tres  meres  del  norte,"  "three  months  rains, 
three  months  heavy  showers,  and  six  months  north 
wind,"  which  in  that  country  brings  cold  and  rain. 

Finding  it  impossible  to  hit  a  weak  point,  while  the 
men  were  piling  up  the  luggage  I  rode  to  the  prefeto, 
whose  reception  at  that  critical  moment  was  most 
cheering  and  reviving.  With  habitual  courtesy  he  of- 
fered me  a  chair  and  a  cigar,  and  as  soon  as  he  saw  my 
passport  said  he  had  been  expecting  me  for  some  time. 
This  surprised  me  ;  and  he  added  that  Don  Patricio  had 

VOL.  II.— N  N 

282  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

told  him  I  was  coming,  which  surprised  me  still  more, 
as  I  did  not  remember  any  friend  of  that  name,  but 
soon  learned  that  this  imposing  cognomen  meant  my 
friend  Mr.  Patrick  Walker,  of  Balize.  This  was  the 
first  notice  of  Mr.  Walker  and  Captain  Caddy  I  had 
received  since  Lieutenant  Nicols  brought  to  Guatimala 
the  report  that  they  had  been  speared  by  the  Indians. 
They  had  reached  Palenque  by  the  Balize  River  and 
Lake  of  Peten,  without  any  other  difficulties  than  from 
the  badness  of  the  roads,  had  remained  two  weeks  at 
the  ruins,  and  left  for  the  Laguna  and  Yucatan.  This 
was  most  gratifying  intelligence,  first,  as  it  assured  me 
of  their  safety,  and  second,  as  I  gathered  from  it  that 
there  would  be  no  impediment  to  our  visiting  the  ruins. 
The  apprehension  of  being  met  at  the  end  of  our  toil- 
some journey  with  a  peremptory  exclusion  had  con- 
stantly disturbed  us  more  or  less,  and  sometimes 
weighed  upon  us  like  lead.  We  had  determined  to 
make  no  reference  to  the  ruins  until  we  had  an  oppor- 
tunity of  ascertaining  our  ground,  and  up  to  that  mo- 
ment I  did  not  know  but  that  all  our  labour  was  boot- 
less. To  heighten  my  satisfaction,  the  prefeto  said  that 
the  place  was  perfectly  quiet ;  it  was  in  a  retired  nook, 
which  revolutions  and  political  convulsions  never  reach- 
ed. He  had  held  his  office  twenty  years,  acknowledg- 
ing as  many  different  governments. 

I  returned  to  make  my  report,  and  in  regard  to  the 
old  alcalde,  in  the  language  of  a  ward-meeting  mani- 
festo, determined  to  ask  for  nothing  but  what  was  right, 
and  to  submit  to  nothing  that  was  wrong.  In  this  spirit 
we  made  a  bold  stand  for  some  corn.  The  alcalde's 
"  no  hay"  was  but  too  true  ;  the  corn-crop  had  failed, 
and  there  was  an  actual  famine  in  the  place.  The  In- 
dians, with  accustomed  improvidence,  had  planted 


barely  enough  for  the  season,  and  this  turning  out  bad, 
they  were  reduced  to  fruits,  plantains,  and  roots  in- 
stead of  tortillas.  Each  white  family  had  about  enough 
for  its  own  use,  but  none  to  spare.  The  shortness  of 
the  corn-crop  made  everything  else  scarce,  as  they  were 
obliged  to  kill  their  fowls  and  pigs  from  want  of  any- 
thing to  feed  them  with.  The  alcalde,  who  to  his  other 
offences  added  that  of  being  rich,  was  the  only  man  in 
the  place  who  had  any  to  spare,  and  he  was  holding  on 
for  a  greater  pressure.  At  Tumbala  we  had  bought 
good  corn  at  thirty  ears  for  sixpence ;  here,  with  great 
difficulty,  we  prevailed  upon  the  alcalde  to  spare  us  a 
little  at  eight  ears  for  a  shilling,  and  these  were  so 
musty  and  worm-eaten  that  the  mules  would  hardly 
touch  them.  At  first  it  surprised  us  that  some  enter- 
prising capitalist  did  not  import  several  dollars'  worth 
from  Tumbala  ;  but  on  going  deeper  into  the  matter  we 
found  that  the  cost  of  transportation  would  not  leave 
much  profit,  and,  besides,  the  course  of  exchange  was 
against  Palenque.  A  few  back-loads  would  overstock 
the  market ;  for  as  each  white  family  was  provided  till 
the  next  crop  came  in,  the  Indians  were  the  only  per- 
sons who  wished  to  purchase,  and  they  had  no  money 
to  buy  with.  The  brunt  of  the  famine  fell  upon  us,  and 
particularly  upon  our  poor  mules.  Fortunately,  how- 
ever, there  was  good  pasture,  and  not  far  off.  We 
slipped  the  bridles  at  the  door  and  turned  them  loose 
in  the  streets ;  but  after  making  the  circuit  they  came 
back  in  a  body,  and  poked  their  heads  in  at  the  door 
with  an  imploring  look  for  corn. 

Our  prospects  were  not  very  brilliant ;  nevertheless, 
we  had  reached  Palenque,  and  toward  evening  storms 
came  on,  with  terrific  thunder  and  lightning,  which 
made  us  feel  but  too  happy  that  our  journey  was  over. 


The  house  assigned  to  us  by  the  alcalde  was  next  hid 
own,  and  belonged  to  himself.  It  had  a  cucinera  ad- 
joining, and  two  Indian  women,  who  did  not  dare  look 
at  us  without  permission  from  the  alcalde.  It  had  an 
earthen  floor,  three  beds  made  of  reeds,  and  a  thatched 
roof,  very  good,  except  that  over  two  of  the  beds  it 
leaked.  Under  the  peaked  roof  and  across  the  top  of 
the  mud  walls  there  was  a  floor  made  of  poles,  serving 
as  a  granary  for  the  alcalde's  mouldy  corn,  inhabited 
by  industrious  mice,  which  scratched,  nibbled,  squeak- 
ed, and  sprinkled  dust  upon  us  all  night.  Neverthe- 
less, we  had  reached  Palenque,  and  slept  well. 

The  next  day  was  Sunday,  and  we  hailed  it  as  a 
day  of  rest.  Heretofore,  in  all  my  travels,  I  had  endeav- 
oured to  keep  it  as  such,  but  in  this  country  I  had  found 
it  impossible.  The  place  was  so  tranquil,  and  seemed 
in  such  a  state  of  repose,  that  as  the  old  alcalde  passed 
the  door  we  ventured  to  wish  him  a  good-morning ; 
but  again  he  had  got  up  wrong  ;  and,  without  answering 
our  greeting,  stopped  to  tell  us  that  our  mules  were 
missing,  and,  as  this  did  not  disturb  us  sufficiently,  he 
added  that  they  were  probably  stolen;  but  when  he 
had  got  us  fairly  roused  and  on  the  point  of  setting  off 
to  look  for  them,  he  said  there  was  no  danger ;  they 
had  only  gone  for  water,  and  would  return  of  them- 

The  village  of  Palenque,  as  we  learned  from  the  pre- 
feto,  was  once  a  place  of  considerable  importance,  all 
the  goods  imported  for  Guatimala  passing  through  it ; 
but  Balize  had  diverted  that  trade  and  destroyed  its 
commerce,  and  but  a  few  years  before  more  than  half 
the  population  had  been  swept  off  by  the  cholera. 
Whole  families  had  perished,  and  their  houses  were 
desolate  and  falling  to  ruins.  The  church  stood  at  the 


head  of  the  street,  in  the  centre  of  a  grassy  square.  On 
each  side  of  the  square  were  houses  with  the  forest  di- 
rectly upon  them ;  and,  being  a  little  elevated  in  the 
plaza,  we  were  on  a  line  with  the  tops  of  the  trees. 
The  largest  house  on  the  square  was  deserted  and  in 
ruins.  There  were  a  dozen  other  houses  occupied  by 
white  families,  with  whom,  in  the  course  of  an  hour's 
stroll,  I  became  acquainted.  It  was  but  to  stop  before 
the  door,  and  I  received  an  invitation,  "  Pasen  ade- 
lante,"  "Walk  in,  captain,"  for  which  title  I  was  in- 
debted to  the  eagle  on  my  hat.  Each  family  had  its 
hacienda  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  in  the  course  of  an 
hour  I  knew  all  that  was  going  on  in  Palenque ;  i.,  e., 
I  knew  that  nothing  was  going  on. 

At  the  upper  end  of 'the  square,  commanding  this 
scene  of  quiet,  was  the  house  of  an  American  named 
William  Brown !  It  was  a  strange  place  for  the  abode 
of  an  American,  and  Mr.  Brown  was  a  regular  "  go- 
ahead"  American.  In  the  great  lottery  he  had  drawn 
a  Palenquian  wife,  which  in  that  quiet  place  probably 
saved  him  from  dying  of  ennui.  What  first  took  him 
to  the  country  I  do  not  know ;  but  he  had  an  exclusive 
privilege  to  navigate  the  Tobasco  River  by  steam,  and 
would  have  made  a  fortune,  but  his  steamboat  founder- 
ed on  the  second  trip.  He  then  took  to  cutting  log- 
wood on  a  new  plan,  and  came  very  near  making  an- 
other fortune,  but  something  went  wrong.  At  the  time 
of  our  visit  he  was  engaged  in  canalling  a  short  cut  to 
the  sea,  to  connect  two  rivers  near  his  hacienda.  To 
the  astonishment  of  the  Palenquians,  he  was  always 
busy,  when  he  might  live  quietly  on  his  hacienda  in  the 
summer,  and  pass  .his  winters  in  the  village.  Very 
much  to  our  regret,  he  was  not  then  in  the  village.  It 


would  have  been  interesting  to  meet  a  countryman  of 
his  stamp  in  that  quiet  corner  of  the  world. 

The  prefeto  was  well  versed  in  the  history  of  Palen- 
que.  It  is  in  the  province  of  Tzendales,  and  for  a  cen- 
tury after  the  conquest  of  Chiapas  it  remained  in  pos- 
session of  the  Indians.  Two  centuries  ago,  Lorenzo 
Mugil,  an  emissary  direct  from  'Rome,  set  up  among 
them  the  standard  of  the  cross.  The  Indians  still  pre- 
serve his  dress  as  a  sacred  relic,  but  they  are  jealous 
of  showing  it  to  strangers,  and  I  could  not  obtain  a 
sight  of  it.  The  bell  of  the  church,  too,  was  sent  from 
the  holy  city.  The  Indians  submitted  to  the  dominion 
of  the  Spaniards  until  the  year  1700,  when  the  whole 
province  revolted,  and  in  Chillon,  Tumbala,  and  Pa- 
lenque  they  apostatized  fronl  Christianity,  murdered 
the  priests,  proijaned  the  churches,  paid  impious  adora- 
tion to  an  Indian  female,  massacred  the  white  men,  and 
took  the  women  for  their  wives.  But,  as  soon  as  the  in- 
telligence reached  Guatimala,  a  strong  force  was  sent 
against  them,  the  revolted  towns  were  reduced  and  re- 
covered to  the  Catholic  faith,  and  tranquillity  was  re- 
stored. The  right  of  the  Indians,  however,  to  the  own- 
ership of  the  soil  was  still  recognised,  and  down  to  the 
time  of  the  Mexican  Independence  they  received  rent 
for  land  in  the  villages  and  the  milpas  in  the  neigh- 

A  short  distance  from  Palenque  the  River  Chacamal 
separates  it  from  the  country  of  the  unbaptized  Indians, 
who  are  here  called  Caribs.  Fifty  years  ago  the  Pa- 
dre Calderon,  an  uncle  of  the  prefeto's  wife,  attended 
by  his  sacristan,  an  Indian,  was  bathing  in  the  river, 
when  the  latter  cried  out  in  alarm  that  some  Caribs 
were  looking  at  them,  and  attempted  to  fly;  but  the 
padre  took  his  cane  and  went  toward  them.  The  Ca- 


ribs  fell  down  before  him,  conducted  him  to  their  huts, 
and  gave  him  an  invitation  to  return,  and  make  them 
a  visit  on  a  certain  day.  On  the  day  appointed  the 
padre  went  with  his  sacristan,  and  found  a  gathering 
of  Caribs  and  a  great  feast  prepared  for  him.  He  re- 
mained with  them  some  time,  and  invited  them  in  re- 
turn to  the  village  of  Palenque  on  the  day  of  the  fete 
of  St.  Domingo.  A  large  party  of  these  wild  Indians 
attended,  bringing  with  them  tiger's  meat,  monkey's 
meat,  and  cocoa  as  presents.  They  listened  to  mass, 
and  beheld  all  the  ceremonies  of  the  Church ;  where- 
upon they  invited  the  padre  to  come  among  them  and 
teach  them,  and  they  erected  a  hut  at  the  place  where 
they  had  first  met  him,  which  he  consecrated  as  a 
church  ;  and  he  taught  his  sacristan  to  say  mass  to 
them  every  Sunday.  As  the  prefeto  said,  if  he  had 
lived,  many  of  them  would  probably  have  been  Chris- 
tianized ;  but,  unfortunately,  he  died ;  the  Caribs  re- 
tired into  the  wilderness,  and  not  one  had  appeared  in 
the  village  since. 

The  ruins  lie  about  eight  miles  from  the  village,  per- 
fectly desolate.  The  road  was  so  bad,  that,  in  order  to 
accomplish  anything,  it  was  necessary  to  remain  there, 
and  we  had  to  make  provision  for  that  purpose.  There 
were  three  small  shops  in  the  village,  the  stock  of  all 
together  not  worth  seventy-five  dollars  ;  but  in  one  of 
them  we  found  a  pound  and  a  half  of  coffee,  which  we 
immediately  secured.  Juan  communicated  the  gratify- 
ing intelligence  that  a  hog  was  to  be  killed  the  next 
morning,  and  that  he  had  engaged  a  portion  of  the 
lard ;  also,  that  there  was  a  cow  with  a  calf  running 
loose,  and  an  arrangement  might  be  made  for  keeping 
her  up  and  milking  her.  This  was  promptly  attended 
to,  and  all  necessary  arrangements  were  made  for  vis- 



iting  the  ruins  the  next  day.  The  Indians  generally 
knew  the  road,  but  there  was  only  one  man  in  the 
place  who  was  able  to  serve  as  a  guide  on  the  ground, 
and  he  had  on  hand  the  business  of  killing  and  distrib- 
uting the  hog,  by  reason  whereof  he  could  not  set  out 
with  us,  but  promised  to  follow. 

Toward  evening  the  quiet  of  the  village  was  disturb- 
ed by  a  crash,  and  on  going  out  we  found  that  a  house 
had  fallen  down.  A  cloud  of  dust  rose  from  it,  and  the 
ruins  probably  lie  as  they  fell.  The  cholera  had  strip- 
ped it  of  tenants,  and  for  several  years  it  had  been  de- 

OUTFIT     FOR     VISITING     THE     RUINS.        289 


Preparations  for  visiting  the  Ruins.  —  A  Turn-out.  —  Departure. — The  Road. — 
Rivers  Micol  and  Otula. — Arrival  at  the  Ruins. — The  Palace. — A  Feu-de-joie. 
—Quarters  in  the  Palace.— Inscriptions  by  former  Visiters. — The  Fate  of 
Beanham.— Discovery  of  the  Ruins  ofPalenque. — Visit  of  Del  Rio. — Expe- 
dition of  Dupaix. — Drawings  of  the  present  Work. — First  Dinner  at  the  Ru- 
ins. — Mammoth  Fireflies. — Sleeping  Apartments. — Extent  of  the  Ruins.— Ob 
stacles  to  Exploration.— Suffering  from  Moschetoes. 

EARLY  the  next  morning  we  prepared  for  our  move  to 
the  ruins.  We  had  to  make  provision  for  housekeeping 
on  a  large  scale  ;  our  culinary  utensils  were  of  rude 
pottery,  and  our  cups  the  hard  shells  of  some  round 
vegetables,  the  whole  cost,  perhaps,  amounting  to  one 
dollar.  We  could  not  procure  a  water-jar  in  the  place, 
but  the  alcalde  lent  us  one  free  of  charge  unless  it 
should  be  broken,  and  as  it  was  cracked  at  the  time  he 
probably  considered  it  sold.  By-the-way,  we  forced 
ourselves  upon  the  alcalde's  affections  by  leaving  our 
money  with  him  for  safe-keeping.  We  did  this  with 
great  publicity,  in  order  that  it  might  be  known  in  the 
village  that  there  was  no  "  plata"  at  the  ruins,  but  the 
alcalde  regarded  it  as  a  mark  of  special  confidence. 
Indeed,  we  could  not  have  shown  him  a  greater.  He 
was  a  suspicious  old  miser,  kept  his  own  money  in  a 
trunk  in  an  inner  room,  and  never  left  the  house  with- 
out locking  the  street  door  and  carrying  the  key  with 
him.  He  made  us  pay  beforehand  for  everything  we 
wanted,  and  would  not  have  trusted  us  half  a  dollar 
on  any  account. 

It  was  necessary  to  take  with  us  from  the  village  all 
that  could  contribute  to  our  comfort,  and  we  tried  hard 
to  get  a  woman  ;  but  no  one  would  trust  herself  alone 

VOL.  II.— O  o  25 

290  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

with  us.  This  was  a  great  privation;  a  woman  was 
desirable,  not,  as  the  reader  may  suppose,  for  embel- 
lishment, but  to  make  tortillas.  These,  to  be  tolerable, 
must  be  eaten  the  moment  they  are  baked;  but  we 
were  obliged  to  make  an  arrangement  with  the  alcalde 
to  send  them  out  daily  with  the  product  of  our  cow. 

Our  turn-out  was  equal  to  anything  we  had  had  on  the 
road.  One  Indian  set  off  with  a  cowhide  trunk  on  his 
back,  supported  by  a  bark  string,  as  the  groundwork  of 
his  load,  while  on  each  side  hung  by  a  bark  string  a 
fowl  wrapped  in  plantain  leaves,  the  head  and  tail  only 
being  visible.  Another  had  on  the  top  of  his  trunk  a 
live  turkey,  with  its  legs  tied  and  wings  expanded, 
like  a  spread  eagle.  Another  had  on  each  side  of  his 
load  strings  of  eggs,  each  egg  being  wrapped  carefully 
in  a  husk  of  cqrn,  and  all  fastened  like  onions  on  a 
bark  string.  Cooking  utensils  and  water-jar  were 
mounted  on  the  backs  of  other  Indians,  and  contained 
rice,  beans,  sugar,  chocolate,  &c.  ;  strings  of  pork  and 
bunches  of  plantains  were  pendent ;  and  Juan  carried 
in  his  arms  our  travelling  tin  coffee-canister  filled  with 
lard,  which  in  that  country  was  always  in  a  liquid  state. 

At  half  past  seven  we  left  the  village.  For  a  short 
distance  the  road  was  open,  but  very  soon  we  entered  a 
forest,  which  continued  unbroken  to  the  ruins,  and  prob- 
ably many  miles  beyond.  The  road  was  a  mere  Indian 
footpath,  the  branches  of  the  trees,  beaten  down  and 
heavy  with  the  rain,  hanging  so  low  that  we  were 
obliged  to  stoop  constantly,  and  very  soon  our  hats  and 
coats  were  perfectly  wet.  From  the  thickness  of  the 
foliage  the  morning  sun  could  not  dry  up  the  deluge  of 
the  night  before.  The  ground  was  very  muddy,  bro- 
ken by  streams  swollen  by  the  early  rains,  with  gullies 
in  which  the  mules  floundered  and  stuck  fast,  in  some 

THE     RUINS     OF     PALENQUE.  291 

places  very  difficult  to  cross.  Amid  all  the  wreck  of 
empires,  nothing  ever  spoke  so  forcibly  the  world's  mu- 
tations as  this  immense  forest  shrouding  what  was  once 
a  great  city.  Once  it  had  been  a  great  highway,  throng- 
ed with  people  who  were  stimulated  by  the  same  pas- 
sions that  give  impulse  to  human  action  now  ;  and  they 
are  all  gone,  their  habitations  buried,  and  no  traces  of 
them  left. 

In  two  hours  we  reached  the  River  Micol,  and  in  half 
an  hour  more  that  of  Otula,  darkened  by  the  shade  of 
the  woods,  and  breaking  beautifully  over  a  stony  bed. 
Fording  this,  very  soon  we  saw  masses  of  stones,  and 
then  a  round  sculptured  stone.  We  spurred  up  a  sharp 
ascent  of  fragments,  so  steep  that  the  mules  could  barely 
climb  it,  to  a  terrace  so  covered,  like  the  whole  road, 
with  trees,  that  it  was  impossible  to  make  out  the  form. 
Continuing  on  this  terrace,  we  stopped  at  the  foot  of  a 
second,  when  our  Indians  cried  out  "  el  Palacio,"  "  the 
palace,"  and  through  openings  in  the  trees  we  saw  the 
front  of  a  large  building  richly  ornamented  with  stuc- 
coed figures  on  the  pilasters,  curious  and  elegant; 
trees  growing  close  against  it,  and  their  branches  enter- 
ing the  doors  ;  in  style  and  effect  unique,  extraordinary, 
and  mournfully  beautiful.  We  tied  our  mules  to  the 
trees,  ascended  a  flight  of  stone  steps  forced  apart  and 
thrown  down  by  trees,  and  entered  the  palace,  ranged 
for  a  few  moments  along  the  corrMor  and  into  the 
courtyard,  and  after  the  first  gaze  of  eager  curiosity 
was  over,  went  back  to  the  entrance,  and,  standing  in 
the  doorway,  fired  a  feu-de-joie  of  four  rounds  each,  be- 
ing the  last  charge  of  our  firearms.  But  for  this  way 
of  giving  vent  to  our  satisfaction  we  should  have  made 
the  roof  of  the  old  palace  ring  with  a  hurrah.  It  was 
intended,  too,  for  effect  upon  the  Indians,  who  had 


probably  never  heard  such  a  cannonade  before,  and  al- 
most, like  their  ancestors  in  the  time  of  Cortez,  regard- 
ed our  weapons  as  instruments  which  spit  lightning,  and 
who,  we  knew,  would  make  such  a  report  in  the  village 
as  would  keep  any  of  their  respectable  friends  from  pay- 
ing us  a  visit  at  night. 

We  had  reached  the  end  of  our  long  and  toilsome 
journey,  and  the  first  glance  indemnified  us  for  our  toil. 
For  the  first  time  we  were  in  a  building  erected  by  the 
aboriginal  inhabitants,  standing  before  the  Europeans 
knew  of  the  existence  of  this  continent,  and  we  prepared 
to  take  up  our  abode  under  its  roof.  We  selected  the 
front  corridor  as  our  dwelling,  turned  turkey  and  fowls 
loose  in  the  courtyard,  which  was  so  overgrown  with 
trees  that  we  could  barely  see  across  it ;  and  as  there 
was  no  pasture  for  the  mules  except  the  leaves  of  the 
trees,  and  we  could  not  turn  them  loose  into  the  woods, 
we  brought  them  up  the  steps  through  the  palace,  and 
turned  them  into  the  courtyard  also.  At  one  end  of  the 
corridor  Juan  built  a  kitchen,  which  operation  consisted 
in  laying  three  stones  anglewise,  so  as  to  have  room  for 
a  fire  between  them.  Our  luggage  was  stowed  away 
or  hung  on  poles  reaching  across  the  corridor.  Paw- 
ling mounted  a  stone  about  four  feet  long  on  stone  legs 
for  a  table,  and  with  the  Indians  cut  a  number  of  poles, 
which  they  fastened  together  with  bark  strings,  and  laid 
them  on  stones  at  the  head  and  foot  for  beds.  We  cut 
down  the  branches  that  entered  the  palace,  and  some  of 
the  trees  on  the  terrace,  and  from  the  floor  of  the  pal- 
ace overlooked  the  top  of  an  immense  forest  stretching 
off  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

The  Indians  had  superstitious  fears  about,  remaining 
at  night  among  the  ruins,  and  left  us  alone,  the  sole 
tenants  of  the  palace  of  unknown  kings.  Little  did 


they  who  built  it  think  that  in  a  few  years  their  royal 
line  would  perish  and  their  race  be  extinct,  their  city  a 
ruin,  and  Mr.  Catherwood,  Pawling,  and  I  and  Juan 
its  sole  tenants.  Other  strangers  had  been  there,  won- 
dering like  ourselves.  Their  names  were  written  on  the 
walls,  with  comments  and  figures  ;  and  even  here  were 
marks  of  those  low,  grovelling  spirits  which  delight  in 
profaning  holy  places.  Among  the  names,  but  not  of  the 
latter  class,  were  those  of  acquaintances  :  Captain  Cad- 
dy and  Mr.  Walker ;  and  one  was  that  of  a  countryman, 
Noah  O.  Platt,  New- York.  He  had  gone  out  to 
Tobasco  as  supercargo  of  a  vessel,  ascended  one  of  the 
rivers  for  logwood,  and  while  his  vessel  was  loading 
visited  the  ruins.  His  account  of  them  had  given  me  a 
strong  desire  to  visit  them  long  before  the  opportunity 
of  doing  so  presented  itself. 

High  up  on  one  side  of  the  corridor  was  the  name 
of  William  Beanham,  and  under  it  was  a  stanza  written 
in  lead-pencil.     By  means  of  a  tree  with  notches  cut  in  it, 
I  climbed  up  and  read  the  lines.     The  rhyme  was  faulty 
and  the  spelling  bad,  but  they  breathed  a  deep  sense  of 
the  moral  sublimity  pervading  these  unknown  ruins. 
The  author  seemed,  too,  an  acquaintance.     I  had  heard 
his  story  in  the  village.     He  was  a  young  Irishman,  sent 
by  a  merchant  of  Tobasco  into  the  interior  for  purposes  of 
small  traffic  ;  had  passed  some  time  at  Palenque  and  in 
the  neighbourhood ;  and,  with  his  thoughts  and  feelings 
turned  strongly  toward  the  Indians,  after  dwelling  upon 
the  subject  for  some  time,  resolved  to  penetrate  into  the 
country  of  the  Caribs.     His  friends  endeavoured  to  dis- 
suade him,  and  the  prefect  told  hiniy."  You  have  red 
hair,  a  florid  complexion,  and  white  skin,  and  they  will 
either  make  a  god  of  you  and  keep  you  among  them, 
or  else  kill  and  eat  you ;"  but  he  set  off  alone  and  oh 

*/  • 


foot,  crossed  the  River  Chacamal,  and  after  an  absence 
of  nearly  a  year  returned  safe,  but  naked  and  emacia- 
ted, with  his  hair  and  nails  long,  having  been  eight  days 
with  a  single  Carib  on  the  banks  of  a  wild  river,  search- 
ing for  a  crossing-place,  and  living  upon  roots  and  herbs. 
He  built  a  hut  on  the  borders  of  the  Chacamal  River, 
and  lived  there  with  a  Carib  servant,  preparing  for  an- 
other and  more  protracted  journey  among  them,  until 
at  length  some  boatmen  who  came  to  trade  with  him 
found  him  lying  in  his  hammock  dead,  with  his  scull 
split  open.     He  had  escaped  the  dangers  of  a  journey 
which  no  man  in  that  country  dared  encounter,  to  die  by 
the  hands  of  an  assassin  in  a  moment  of  fancied  securi- 
ty.    His  arm  was  hanging  outside,  and  a  book  lying  on 
the  ground ;    probably  he  was  struck  while  reading. 
The  murderers,  one  of  whom  was  his  servant,  were 
caught,  and  were  then  in  prison  in  Tobasco.     Unfortu- 
nately, the  people  of  Palenque  had  taken  but  little  in- 
terest in  anything  except  the  extraordinary  fact  of  his 
visit  among  the  Caribs  and  his  return  safe.      All  his 
papers  and  collection  of  curiosities  were  scattered  and 
destroyed,  and  with  him  died  all  the  fruits  of  his  la- 
bours ;  but,  were  he  still  living,  he  would  be  the  man, 
of  all  others,  to  accomplish  the  discovery  of  that  myste- 
rious city  which  had  so  much  affected  our  imaginations. 

As  the  ruins  of  Palenque  are  the  first  which  awakened 
attention  to  the  existence  of  ancient  and  unknown  cities 
in  America,  and  as,  on  that  account,  they  are  perhaps 
more  interesting  to  the  public,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to 
state  the  circumstances  of  their  first  discovery. 

The  account  is,  that  in  the  year  1750,  a  party  of 
Spaniards  travelling  in  the  interior  of  Mexico  pene- 
trated to  the  lands  north  of  the  district  of  Carmen,  in 
the  province  of  Chiapas,  when  all  at  once  they  found 


in  the  midst  of  a  vast  solitude  ancient  stone  buildings, 
the  remains  of  a  city,  still  embracing  from  eighteen  to 
twenty-four  miles  in  extent,  known  to  the  Indians  by 
the  name  of  Casas  de  Piedras.  From  my  knowledge 
of  the  country  I  am  at  a  loss  to  conjecture  why  a  party 
of  Spaniards  were  travelling  in  that  forest,  or  how  they 
could  have  done  so.  I  am  inclined  to  believe  rather 
that  the  existence  of  the  ruins  was  discovered  by  the 
Indians,  who  had  clearings  in  different  parts  of  the 
forest  for  their  corn-fields,  or  perhaps  was  known  lo 
them  from  time  immemorial,  and  on  their  report  the 
inhabitants  were  induced  to  visit  them. 

The  existence  of  such  a  city  was  entirely  unknown ; 
there  is  no  mention  of  it  in  any  book,  and  no  tradition 
that  it  had  ever  been.  To  this  day  it  is  not  known  by 
what  name  it  was  called,  and  the  only  appellation  given 
to  it  is  that  of  Palenque,  after  the  village  near  which 
the  ruins  stand. 

The  news  of  the  discovery  passed  from  mouth  to 
mouth,  was  repeated  in  some  cities  of  the  province,  and 
reached  the  seat  of  government ;  but  little  attention  was 
paid  to  it,  and  the  members  of  the  government,  through 
ignorance,  apathy,  or  the  actual  impossibility  of  occu- 
pying themselves  with  anything  except  public  affairs, 
took  no  measures  to  explore  the  ruins,  and  it  was  not 
till  1786,  thirty  years  subsequent  to  the  discovery,  that 
the  King  of  Spain  ordered  an  exploration  ;  on  the  third 
of  May,  1787,  Captain  Antonio  del  Rio  arrived  at  the 
village,  under  a  commission  from  the  government  of 
Guatimala,  and  on  the  fifth  he  proceeded  to  the  site  of 
the  ruined  city.  In  his  official  report  he  says,  on  ma- 
king his  first  essay,  owing  to  the  thickness  of  the  woods, 
and  a  fog  so  dense  that  it  was  impossible  for  the  men 
to  distinguish  each  other  at  five  paces'  distance,  the 

296  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

principal  building  was  completely  concealed  from  their 

He  returned  to  the  village,  and  after  concerting 
measures  with  the  deputy  of  the  district,  an  order  was 
issued  to  the  inhabitants  of  Tumbala,  requiring  two 
hundred  Indians  with  axes  and  billhooks.  On  the 
17th  seventy-nine  arrived,  furnished  with  twenty-eight 
axes,  after  which  twenty  more  were  obtained  in  the  vil- 
lage ;  and  with  these  he  again  moved  forward,  and  im- 
mediately commenced  felling  trees,  which  was  followed 
by  a  general  conflagration. 

The  report  of  Captain  Del  Rio,  with  the  commentary 
of  Doctor  Paul  Felix  Cabrera  of  New  Guatimala,  de- 
ducing an  Egyptian  origin  for  the  people,  through  ei- 
ther the  supineness  or  the  jealousy  of  the  Spanish  gov- 
ernment was  locked  up  in  the  archives  of  Guatimala 
until  the  time  of  the  Revolution,  when,  by  the  operation 
of  liberal  principles,  the  original  manuscripts  came  into 
the  hands  of  an  English  gentleman  long  resident  in  that 
country,  and  an  English  translation  was  published  at 
London  in  1822.  This  was  the  first  notice  in  Europe 
of  the  discovery  of  these  ruins  ;  and,  instead  of  electri- 
fying the  public  mind,  either  from  want  of  interest  in 
the  subject,  distrust,  or  some  other  cause,  so  little  notice 
was  taken  of  it,  that  in  1831  the  Literary  Gazette,  a 
paper  of  great  circulation  in  London,  announced  it  as 
a  new  discovery  made  by  Colonel  Galindo,  whose  un- 
fortunate fate  has  been  before  referred  to.  If  a  like 
discovery  had  been  made  in  Italy,  Greece,  Egypt,  or 
Asia,  within  the  reach  of  European  travel,  it  would 
have  created  an  interest  not  inferior  to  the  discovery  of 
Herculaneum,  or  Pompeii,  or  the  ruins  of  Paestum. 

While  the  report  and  drawings  of  Del  Rio  slept 
in  the  archives  of  Guatimala,  Charles  the  Fourth  of 


Spain  ordered  another  expedition,  at  the  head  of  which 
was  placed  Captain  Dupaix,  with  a  secretary  and 
draughtsman,  and  a  detachment  of  dragoons.  His  ex- 
peditions were  made  in  1805,  1806,  and  1807,  the  last 
of  which  was  to  Palenque. 

The  manuscripts  of  Dupaix,  and  the  designs  of  his 
draughtsman  Castenada,  were  about  to  be  sent  to  Mad- 
rid, which  was  then  occupied  by  the  French  army, 
when  the  revolution  broke  out  in  Mexico ;  they  then 
became  an  object  of  secondary  importance,  and  re- 
mained during  the  wars  of  independence  under  the  con-* 
trol  of  Castenada,  who  deposited  them  in  the  Cabinet 
of  Natural  History  in  Mexico.  In  1828  M.  Baradere 
disentombed  them  from  the  cartons  of  the  museum, 
where,  but  for  this  accident,  they  might  still  have  re- 
mained, and  the  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  this 
city  again  been  lost.  The  Mexican  Congress  had 
passed  a  law  forbidding  any  stranger  not  formally  au- 
thorized to  make  researches  or  to  remove  objects  of  art 
from  the  country ;  but,  in  spite  of  this  interdict,  M. 
Baradere  obtained  authority  to  make  researches  in  the 
interior  of  the  republic,  with  the  agreement  that  after 
sending  to  Mexico  all  that  he  collected,  half  should 
be  delivered  to  him,  with  permission  to  transport  them 
to  Europe.  Afterward  he  obtained  by  exchange  the 
original  designs  of  Castenada,  and  an  authentic  copy 
of  the  itinerary  and  descriptions  of  Captain  Dupaix 
was  promised  in  three  months.  From  divers  circum- 
stances, that  copy  did  not  reach  M.  Baradere  till  long 
after  his  return  to  France,  and  the  work  of  Dupaix  was 
not  published  until  1834,  '5,  twenty-eight  years  after 
his  expedition,  when  it  was  brought  out  in  Paris,  in 
four  volumes  folio,  at  the  price  of  eight  hundred  francs, 
with  notes  and  commentaries  by  M.  Alexandre  Lenoir, 

VOL.  II.— P  P 


M.  Warden,  M.  Charles  Farcy,  M.  Baradere,  and  M. 
De  St.  Priest. 

Lord  Kingsborough's  ponderous  tomes,  so  far  as  re- 
gards Palenque,  are  a  mere  reprint  of  Dupaix,  and  the 
cost  of  his  work  is  four  hundred  dollars  per  copy.  Col- 
onel Galindo's  communications  to  the  Geographical 
Society  of  Paris  are  published  in  the  work  of  Dupaix, 
and  since  him  Mr.  Waldeck,  with  funds  provided  by 
an  association  in  Mexico,  had  passed  two  years  among 
the  ruins.  His  drawings,  as  he  states  in  a  work  on  an- 
other place,  were  taken  away  by  the  Mexican  govern- 
ment ;  but  he  had  retained  copies,  and  before  we  set 
out  his  work  on  Palenque  was  announced  in  Paris.  It, 
however,  has  never  appeared,  and  in  the  mean  time 
Dupaix's  is  the  text-book. 

I  have  two  objections  to  make  to  this  work,  not  affect- 
ing Captain  Dupaix,  who,  as  his  expedition  took  place 
thirty-four  years  since,  is  not  likely  to  be  affected,  if  he 
is  even  living,  but  his  Paris  editors.  The  first  is  the 
very  depreciating  tone  in  which  mention  is  made  of  the 
work  of  his  predecessor  Del  Rio,  and,  secondly,  this 
paragraph  in  the  introduction  : 

"  It  must  be  considered  that  a  government  only  can 
execute  such  undertakings.  A  traveller  relying  upon  his 
own  resources  cannot  hope,  whatever  may  be  his  intre- 
pidity, to  penetrate,  and,  above  all,  to  live  in  those  dan- 
gerous solitudes  ;  and,  supposing  that  he  succeeds,  it  is 
beyond  the  power  of  the  most  learned  and  skilful  man 
to  explore  alone  the  ruins  of  a  vast  city,  of  which  he 
must  not  only  measure  and  draw  the  edifices  still  ex- 
isting, but  also  determine  the  circumference  and  exam- 
ine the  remains,  dig  the  soil  and  explore  the  subterra- 
neous constructions.  M.  Baradere  arrived  within  fifty 
leagues  of  Palenque,  burning  with  the  desire  of  going 


there  ;  but  what  could  a  single  man  do  with  domestics 
or  other  auxiliaries,  without  moral  force  or  intelligence, 
against  a  people  still  half  savage,  against  serpents  and 
other  hurtful  animals,  which,  according  to  Dupaix,  in- 
fest these  ruins,  and  also  against  the  vegetative  force  of  a 
nature  fertile  and  powerful,  which  in  a  few  years  re-cov- 
ers all  the  monuments  and  obstructs  all  the  avenues  ?" 

The  effect  of  this  is  to  crush  all  individual  enterprise, 
and.  moreover,  it  is  untrue.  All  the  accounts,  founded 
upon  this,  represent  a  visit  to  these  ruins  as  attended 
with  immense  difficulty  and  danger,  to  such  an  extent 
that  we  feared  to  encounter  them ;  but  there  is  no  dif- 
ficulty whatever  in  going  from  Europe  or  the  United 
States  to  Palenque.  Our  greatest  hardships,  even  in 
our  long  journey  through  the  interior,  were  from  the 
revolutionary  state  of  the  countries  and  want  of  time ; 
and  as  to  a  residence  there,  with  time  to  construct  a 
hut  or  to  fit  up  an  apartment  in  the  palace,  and  to  pro- 
cure stores  from  the  seaboard,  "  those  dangerous  soli- 
tudes" might  be  anything  rather  than  unpleasant. 

And  to  show  what  individuals  can  accomplish,  I  state 
that  Mr.  Catherwood's  drawings  include  all  the  objects 
represented  in  the  work  of  Dupaix,  and  others  besides 
which  do  not  appear  in  that  work  at  all,  and  have  never 
before  been  presented  to  the  public ;  among  which  are 
the  frontispiece  of  this  volume  and  the  large  tablets  of 
hieroglyphics,  the  most  curious  and  interesting  pieces  of 
sculpture  at  Palenque.  I  add,  with  the  full  knowledge 
that  I  will  be  contradicted  by  future  travellers  if  I  am 
wrong,  that  the  whole  of  Mr.  C.'s  are  more  correct  in 
proportions,  outline,  and  filling  up  than  his,  and  furnish 
more  true  material  for  speculation  and  study.  I  would 
not  have  said  thus  much  but  from  a  wish  to  give  confi- 
ence  to  the  reader  who  may  be  disposed  to  investigate 


and  study  these  interesting  remains.  As  to  most  of  the 
places  visited  by  us,  he  will  find  no  materials  whatever 
except  those  furnished  in  these  pages.  In  regard  to  Pa- 
lenque  he  will  find  a  splendid  work,  the  materials  of 
which  were  procured  under  the  sanction  of  a  commis- 
sion from  government,  and  brought  out  with  explana- 
tions and  commentaries  by  the  learned  men  of  Paris, 
by  the  side  of  which  my  two  octavoes  shrink  into  in- 
significance ;  but  I  uphold  the  drawings  against  these 
costly  folios,  and  against  every  other  book  that  has  ever 
been  published  on  the  subject  of  these  ruins.  My  ob- 
ject has  been,  not  to  produce  an  illustrated  work,  but  to 
present  the  drawings  in  such  an  inexpensive  form  as  to 
place  them  within  reach  of  the  great  mass  of  our  read- 
ing community. 

But  to  return  ^o  ourselves  in  the  palace.  While  we 
were  making  our  observations,  Juan  was  engaged  in  a 
business  that  his  soul  loved.  As  with  all  the  mozos  of 
that  country,  it  was  his  pride  and  ambition  to  servir  a 
mano.  He  scorned  the  manly  occupation  of  a  mule- 
teer, and  aspired  to  that  of  a  menial  servant.  He  was 
anxious  to  be  left  at  the  village,  and  did  not  like  the 
idea  of  stopping  at  the  ruins,  but  was  reconciled  to  it 
by  being  allowed  to  devote  himself  exclusively  to  cook- 
ery. At  four  o'clock  we  sat  down  to  our  first  dinner. 
The  tablecloth  was  two  broad  leaves,  each  about  two 
feet  long,  plucked  from  a  tree  on  the  terrace  before  the 
door.  Our  saltcellar  stood  like  a  pyramid,  being  a  case 
made  of  husks  of  corn  put  together  lengthwise,  and 
holding  four  or  five  pounds,  in  lumps  from  the  size  of  a 
pea  to  that  of  a  hen's  egg.  Juan  was  as  happy  as  if  he 
had  prepared  the  dinner  exclusively  for  his  own  eating ; 
and  all  went  merry  as  a  marriage-bell,  when  the  sky 
became  overcast,  and  a  sharp  thunder-clap  heralded  the 


afternoon's  storm.  From  the  elevation  of  the  terrace, 
the  floor  of  the  palace  commanded  a  view  of  the  top  of 
the  forest,  and  we  could  see  the  trees  bent  down  by  the 
force  of  the  wind ;  very  soon  a  fierce  blast  swept  through 
the  open  doors,  which  was  followed  instantaneously 
by  heavy  rain.  The  table  was  cleared  by  the  wind, 
and,  before  we  could  make  our  escape,  was  drenched 
by  the  rain.  We  snatched  away  our  plates,  and  finish- 
ed our  meal  as  we  could. 

The  rain  continued,  with  heavy  thunder  and  light- 
ning, all  the  afternoon.  In  the  absolute  necessity  of 
taking  up  our  abode  among  the  ruins,  we  had  hardly 
thought  of  our  exposure  to  the  elements  until  it  was 
forced  upon  us.  At  night  we  could  not  light  a  candle, 
but  the  darkness  of  the  palace  was  lighted  up  by  fire- 
flies of  extraordinary  size  and  brilliancy,  shooting 
through  the  corridors  and  stationary  on  the  walls, 
forming  a  beautiful  and  striking  spectacle.  They  were 
of  the  description  with  those  we  saw  at  Nopa,  known 
by  the  name  of  shining  beetles,  and  are  mentioned  by 
the  early  Spaniards,  among  the  wonders  of  a  world 
where  all  was  new,  "  as  showing  the  way  to  those  who 
travel  at  night."  The  historian  describes  them  as 
"  somewhat  smaller  than  Sparrows,  having  two  stars 
close  by  then-  Eyes,  and  two  more  under  their  Wings, 
which  gave  so  great  a  Light  that  by  it  they  could  spin, 
weave,  write,  and  paint ;  and  the  Spaniards  went  by 
night  to  hunt  the  Utios  or  little  Rabbits  of  that  country ; 
and  a-fishing,  carrying  these  Animals  tied  to  their  great 
Toes  or  Thumbs :  and  they  called  them  Locuyos,  be- 
ing also  of  use  to  save  them  from  the  Gnats,  which 
are  there  very  troublesome.  They  took  them  in  the 
Night  with  Firebrands,  because  they  made  to  the  Light, 
and  came  when  called  by  their  Name  ;  and  they  are  so 



unwieldy  that  when  they  fall  they  cannot  rise  again ; 
and  the  Men  streaking  their  Faces  and  Hands  with  a 
sort  of  Moisture  that  is  in  those  Stars,  seemed  to  be 
afire  as  long  as  it  lasted." 

It  always  gave  us  high  pleasure  to  realize  the  ro- 
mantic and  seemingly  half-fabulous  accounts  of  the 
chroniclers  of  the  conquest.  Very  often  we  found  their 
quaint  descriptions  so  vivid  and  faithful  as  to  infuse 
the  spirit  that  breathed  through  their  pages.  We 
caught  several  of  these  beetles,  not,  however,  by  call- 
ing them  by  their  names,  but  with  a  hat,  as  school- 
boys used  to  catch  fireflies,  or,  less  poetically,  light- 
ning-bugs, at  home.  They  are  more  than  half  an 
inch  long,  and  have  a  sharp  movable  horn  on  the 
head  ;  when  laid  on  the  back  they  cannot  turn  over  ex- 
cept by  pressing  this  horn  against  a  membrane  upon 
the  front.  Behind  the  eyes  are  two  round  transparent 
substances  full  of  luminous  matter,  about  as  large  as 
the  head  of  a  pin,  and  underneath  is  a  larger  membrane 
containing  the  same  luminous  substance.  Four  of  them 
together  threw  a  brilliant  light  for  several  yards  around, 
and  by  the  light  of  a  single  one  we  read  distinctly  the 
finely-printed  pages  of  an  American  newspaper.  It  was 
one  of  a  packet,  full  of  debates  in  Congress,  which  I  had 
as  yet  barely  glanced  over,  and  it  seemed  stranger  than 
any  incident  of  my  journey  to  be  reading  by  the  light 
of  beetles,  in  the  ruined  palace  of  Palenque,  the  say- 
ings and  doings  of  great  men  at  home.  In  the  midst  of  it 
Mr.  Catherwood,  in  emptying  the  capacious  pocket  of  a 
shooting-jacket,  handed  me  a  Broadway  omnibus  ticket: 

"  Good  to  the  bearer  for  a  ride, 
"  A.  Brower." 

These  things  brought  up  vivid  recollections  of  home,  and 
among  the  familiar  images  present  were  the  good  beds 

FIRST     NIGHT     AT     THE     RUINS.  303 

into  which  our  friends  were  about  that  time  turning. 
Ours  were  set  up  in  the  back  corridor,  fronting  the  court- 
yard. This  corridor  consisted  of  open  doors  and  pilasters 
alternately.  The  wind  and  rain  were  sweeping  through, 
and,  unfortunately,  our  beds  were  not  out  of  reach  of 
the  spray.  They  had  been  set  up  with  some  labour  on 
four  piles  of  stones  each,  and  we  could  not  then  change 
their  position.  We  had  no  spare  articles  to  put  up  as 
screens  ;  but,  happily,  two  umbrellas,  tied  up  with  meas- 
uring rods  and  wrapped  in  a  piece  of  matting,  had  sur- 
vived the  wreck  of  the  mountain-roads.  These  Mr.  C. 
and  I  secured  at  the  head  of  our  beds.  Pawling  swung 
a  hammock  across  the  corridor  so  high  that  the  sweep 
of  the  rain  only  touched  the  foot ;  and  so  passed  our  first 
night  at  Palenque.  In  the  morning,  umbrellas,  bed- 
clothes, wearing  apparel,  and  hammocks  were  wet 
through,  and  there  was  not  a  dry  place  to  stand  on. 
Already  we  considered  ourselves  booked  for  a  rheuma- 
tism. We  had  looked  to  our  residence  at  Palenque  as 
the  end  of  troubles,  and  for  comfort  and  pleasure,  but 
all  we  could  do  was  to  change  the  location  of  our  beds 
to  places  which  promised  a  better  shelter  for  the  next 

A  good  breakfast  would  have  done  much  to  restore 
our  equanimity ;  but,  unhappily,  we  found  that  the  tor- 
tillas which  we  had  brought  out  the  day  before,  proba- 
bly made  of  half-mouldy  corn,  by  the  excessive  damp- 
ness were  matted  together,  sour,  and  spoiled.  We 
went  through  our  beans,  eggs,  and  chocolate  without 
any  substitute  for  bread,  and,  as  often  before  in  time  of 
trouble,  composed  ourselves  with  a  cigar.  Blessed  be 
the  man  who  invented  smoking,  the  soother  and  com- 
poser of  a  troubled  spirit,  allayer  of  angry  passions,  a 
comfort  under  the  loss  of  breakfast,  and  to  the  roamer 


in  desolate  places,  the  solitary  wayfarer  through  life, 
serving  for  "  wife,  children,  and  friends." 

At  about  ten  o'clock  the  Indians  arrived  with  fresh 
tortillas  and  milk.  Our  guide,  too,  having  finished  cut- 
ting up  and  distributing  the  hog,  was  with  them.  He 
was  the  same  who  had  been  employed  by  Mr.  Waldeck, 
and  also  by  Mr.  Walker  and  Captain  Caddy,  and  was 
recommended  by  the  prefect  as  the  only  man  acquaint- 
ed with  the  ruins.  Under  his  escort  we  set  out  for  a 
preliminary  survey.  Of  ourselves,  leaving  the  palace, 
in  any  direction,  we  should  not  have  known  which  way 
to  direct  our  steps. 

In  regard  to  the  extent  of  these  ruins.  Even  in  this 
practical  age  the  imagination  of  man  delights  in  won- 
ders. The  Indians  and  the  people  of  Palenque  say  that 
they  cover  a  space  o^  sixty  miles ;  in  a  series  of  well- 
written  articles  in  our  own  country  they  have  been  set 
down  as  ten  times  larger  than  New- York ;  and  lately  I 
have  seen  an  article  in  some  of  the  newspapers,  refer- 
ring to  our  expedition,  which  represents  this  city,  discov 
ered  by  us,  as  having  been  thr,ee  times  as  large  as  Lon- 
don !  It  is  not  in  my  nature  to  discredit  any  marvellous 
story.  I  am  slow  to  disbelieve,  and  would  rather  sustain 
all  such  inventions ;  but  it  has  been  my  unhappy  lot  to 
find  marvels  fade  away  as  I  approached  them  :  even  the 
Dead  Sea  lost  its  mysterious  charm ;  and  besides,  as  a 
traveller  and  "  writer  of  a  book,"  I  know  that  if  I  go 
wrong,  those  who  come-  after  me  will  not  fail  to  set  me 
right.  Under  these  considerations,  not  from  any  wish 
of  my  own,  and  with  many  thanks  to  my  friends  of  the 
press,  I  am  obliged  to  say  that  the  Indians  and  people 
of  Palenque  really  know  nothing  of  the  ruins  personally, 
and  the  other  accounts  do  not  rest  upon  any  sufficient 
foundation.  The  whole  country  for  miles  around  is  cov- 


ered  by  a  dense  forest  of  gigantic  trees,  with  a  growth 
of  brush  and  underwood  unknown  in  the  wooded  des- 
erts of  our  own  country,  and  impenetrable  in  any  direc- 
tion except  by  cutting  a  way  with  a  machete.  What 
lies  buried  in  that  forest  it  is  impossible  to  say  of  my 
own  knowledge  ;  without  a  guide,  we  might  have  gone 
within  a  hundred  feet  of  all  the  buildings  without  dis- 
covering one  of  them. 

Captain  Del  Rio,  the  first  explorer,  with  men  and 
means  at  command,  states  in  his  report,  that  in  the  ex- 
ecution of  his  commission  he  cut  down  and  burned  all 
the  woods  ;  he  does  not  say  how  far,  but,  judging  from 
the  breaches  and  excavations  made  in  the  interior  of  the 
buildings,  probably  for  miles  around.  Captain  Dupaix, 
acting  under  a  royal  commission,  and  with  all  the  re- 
sources such  a  commission  would  give,  did  not  discover 
any  more  buildings  than  those  mentioned  by  Del  Rio, 
and  we  saw  only  the  same ;  but,  having  the  benefit  of 
them  as  guides,  at  least  of  Del  Rio  (for  at  that  time  we 
had  not  seen  Dupaix's  work),  we  of  course  saw  things 
which  escaped  their  observation,  just  as  those  who  come 
after  us  will  see  what  escaped  ours.  This  place,  howev- 
er, was  the  principal  object  of  our  expedition,  and  it  was 
our  wish  and  intention  to  make  a  thorough  exploration. 
Respect  for  my  official  character,  the  special  tenour  of 
my  passport,  and  letters  from  Mexican  authorities,  gave 
me  every  facility.  The  prefect  assumed  that  I  was  sent 
by  my  government  expressly  to  explore  the  ruins  ;  and 
every  person  in  Palenque  except  our  friend  the  alcalde, 
and  even  he  as  much  as  the  perversity  of  his  disposi- 
tion would  permit,  was  disposed  to  assist  us.  But  there 
were  accidental  difficulties  which  were  insuperable. 
First,  it  was  the  rainy  season.  This,  under  any  circum- 
stances, would  have  made  it  difficult ;  but  as  the  rains 

VOL.  II.— Q,  Q 


did  not  commence  till  three  or  four  o'clock,  and  the 
weather  was  clear  always  in  the  morning,  it  alone  would 
not  have  been  sufficient  to  prevent  our  attempting  it ; 
but  there  were  other  difficulties,  which  embarrassed  us 
from  the  beginning,  and  continued  during  our  whole  res- 
idence among  the  ruins.  There  was  not  an  axe  or  spade 
in  the  place,  and,  as  usual,  the  only  instrument  was  the 
machete,  which  here  was  like  a  short  and  wide-bladed 
sword  ;  and  the  difficulty  of  procuring  Indians  to  work 
was  greater  than  at  any  other  place  we  had  visited.  It 
was  the  season  of  planting  corn,  and  the  Indians,  under 
the  immediate  pressure  of  famine,  were  all  busy  with 
their  milpas.  The  price  of  an  Indian's  labour  was 
eighteen  cents  per  day ;  but  the  alcalde,  who  had  the 
direction  of  this  branch  of  the  business,  would  not  let 
me  advance  to  more  than  twenty-five  cents,  and  the 
most  he  would  engage  to  send  me  was  from  four  to  six 
a  day.  They  would  not  sleep  at  the  ruins,  came  late, 
and  went  away  early ;  sometimes  only  two  or  three  ap- 
peared, and  the  same  men  rarely  came  twice,  so  that 
during  our  stay  we  had  all  the  Indians  of  the  village  in 
rotation.  This  increased  very  much  our  labour,  as  it 
made  it  necessary  to  stand  over  them  constantly  to  di- 
lect  their  work;  and  just  as  one  set  began  to  understand 
precisely  what  we  wanted,  we  were  obliged  to  teach  the 
same  to  others;  and  I  may  remark  that  their  labour, 
though  nominally  cheap,  was  dear  in  reference  to  the 
work  done. 

At  that  time  I  expected  to  return  to  Palenque ; 
whether  I  shall  do  so  now  or  not  is  uncertain  ;  but  I  am 
anxious  that  it  should  be  understood  that  the  accounts 
which  have  been  published  of  the  immense  labour  and 
expense  of  exploring  these  ruins,  which,  as  I  before  re- 
marked, made  it  almost  seem  presumptuous  for  me  to 


undertake  it  with  my  own  resources,  are  exaggerated 
and  untrue.  Being  on  the  ground  at  the  commencement 
of  the  dry  season,  with  eight  or  ten  young  "  pioneers," 
having  a  spirit  of  enterprise  equal  to  their  bone  and 
muscle,  in  less  than  six  months  the  whole  of  these  ruins 
could  be  laid  bare.  Any  man  who  has  ever  "cleared" 
a  hundred  acres  of  land  is  competent  to  undertake  it, 
and  the  time  and  money  spent  by  one  of  our  young 
men  in  a  "  winter  in  Paris"  would  determine  beyond  all 
peradventure  whether  the  city  ever  did  cover  the  im- 
mense extent  which  some  have  supposed. 

But  to  return  :  Under  the  escort  of  our  guide  we  had 
a  fatiguing  but  most  interesting  day.  What  we  saw 
does  not  need  any  exaggeration.  It  awakened  admira- 
tion and  astonishment.  In  the  afternoon  came  on  the 
regular  storm.  We  had  distributed  our  beds,  however, 
along  the  corridors,  under  cover  of  the  outer  wall,  and 
were  better  protected,  but  suffered  terribly  from  mosche- 
toes,  the  noise  and  stings  of  which  drove  away  sleep.  In 
the  middle  of  the  night  I  took  up  my  mat  to  escape 
from  these  murderers  of  rest.  The  rain  had  ceased,  and 
the  moon,  breaking  through  the  heavy  clouds,  with  a 
misty  face  lighted  up  the  ruined  corridor.  I  climbed 
over  a  mound  of  stones  at  one  end,  where  the  wall  had 
fallen,  and,  stumbling  along  outside  the  palace,  entered 
a  lateral  building  near  the  foot  of  the  tower,  groped  in 
the  dark  along  a  low  damp  passage,  and  spread  my 
mat  before  a  low  doorway  at  the  extreme  end.  Bats 
were  flying  and  whizzing  through  the  passage,  noisy  and 
sinister ;  but  the  ugly  creatures  drove  away  mosche- 
toes.  The  dampness  of  the  passage  was  cooling  and 
refreshing  ;  and,  with  some  twinging  apprehensions  of 
the  snakes  and  reptiles,  lizards  and  scorpions,  which  in- 
fest the  ruins,  I  fell  asleep. 

308  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 


Precautions  against  the  Attacks  of  Moschetoes. — Mode  of  Life  at  Palenque.— 
Description  of  the  Palace. —  Piers. —  Hieroglyphics. —  Figures. —  Doorways. — 
Corridors.— Courtyards. — A  wooden  Relic.— Stone  Steps. — Towers. — Tablets. 
—Stucco  Ornaments,  &c.,  &c. — The  Royal  Chapel. — Explorations. — An  Aque- 
duct.—An  Alarm. — Insects. — Effect  of  Insect  Stings.— Return  to  the  Village 
of  Palenque. 

AT  daylight  I  returned,  and  found  Mr.  C.  and  Paw- 
ling sitting  on  the  stones,  half  dressed,  in  rueful  con- 
clave. They  had  passed  the  night  worse  than  I,  and 
our  condition  and  prospects  were  dismal.  Rains,  hard 
work,  bad  fare,  seemed  nothing ;  but  we  could  no  more 
exist  without  sleep  ihan  the  "foolish  fellow"  of  ^Esop, 
who,  at  the  moment  when  he  had  learned  to  live  with- 
out eating,  died.  In  all  his  travels  through  the  country 
Pawling  had  never  encountered  such  hard  work  as  since 
he  met  us. 

The  next  night  the  moschetoes  were  beyond  all  en- 
durance ;  the  slightest  part  of  the  body,  the  tip  end  of  a 
finger,  exposed,  was  bitten.  With  the  heads  covered 
the  heat  was  suffocating,  and  in  the  morning  our  faces 
were  all  in  blotches.  Without  some  remedy  we  were 
undone.  It  is  on  occasions  like  this  that  the  creative 
powpr  of  genius  displays  itself.  Our  beds,  it  will  be 
remembered,  .were  made  of  sticks  lying  side  by  side, 
and  set  on  four  piles  of  stones  for  legs.  Over  these  we 
laid  our  pellons  and  armas  de  aguas,  or  leathern  ar- 
mour against  rain,  and  over  these  our  straw  matting. 
This  prevented  our  enemies  invading  us  from  between 
the  sticks.  Our  sheets  were  already  sewed  up  into 
sacks.  We  ripped  one  side,  cut  sticks,  and  bent  them 


the  same  accuracy  as  the  other  drawings,  the  front  be- 
ing in  a  more  ruined  condition.  It  stands  on  an  arti- 
ficial elevation  of  an  oblong  form,  forty  feet  high,  three 
hundred  and  ten  feet  in  front  and  rear,  and  two  hun- 
dred and  sixty  feet  on  each  side.  This  elevation  was 
formerly  faced  with  stone,  which  has  been  thrown  down 
by  the  growth  of  trees,  and  its  form  is  hardly  distin- 

The  building  stands  with  its  face  to  the  east,  and 
measures  two  hundred  and  twenty-eight  feet  front  by 
one  hundred  and  eighty  feet  deep.  Its  height  is  not 
more  than  twenty-five  feet,  and  all  around  it  had  a  broad 
projecting  cornice  of  stone.  The  front  contained  four- 
teen doorways,  about  nine  feet  wide  each,  and  the  in- 
tervening piers  are  between  six  and  seven  feet  wide. 
On  the  left  (in  approaching  the  palace)  eight  of  the  piers 
have  fallen  down,  as  has  also  the  corner  on  the  right, 
and  the  terrace  underneath  is  cumbered  with  the  ruins. 
But  six  piers  remain  entire,  and  the  rest  of  the  front  is 

The  engraving  opposite  represents  the  ground-plan 
of  the  whole.  The  black  lines  represent  walls  still 
standing ;  the  faint  lines  indicate  remains  only,  but,  in 
general,  so  clearly  marked  that  there  was  no  difficulty 
in  connecting  them  together. 

The  building  was  constructed  of  stone,  with  a  mortar 
of  lime  and  sand,  and  the  whole  front  was  covered  with 
stucco  and  painted.  The  piers  were  ornamented  with 
spirited  figures  in  bas-relief,  one  of  which  is  represented 



o.     It  k  *tn; 
out  ten  feet  hiflb  an 

f,        At  hlS  iW-t.  ;<• 

>-w-legg*d,  and  apparently  sc 
might  find  n  <Lanatior: 


;  I  of  adin 

«MMee^     It  was  painted,  an- 
•d  the  r 

ar«  »f  ined  oth 


the  terrace  it  was  difficult  to  set  up  the  camera  lucida 
in  such  a  position  as  to  draw  them.  The  piers  which 
are  fallen  were  no  doubt  enriched  with  the  same  orna- 
ments. Each  one  had  some  specific  meaning,  and  the 
whole  probably  presented  some  allegory  or  history  ;  and 
when  entire  and  painted,  the  effect  in  ascending  the 
terrace  must  have  been  imposing  and  beautiful. 

The  principal  doorway  is  not  distinguished  by  its 
size  or  by  any  superior  ornament,  but  is  only  indicated 
by  a  range  of  broad  stone  steps  leading  up  to  it  on  the 
terrace.  The  doorways  have  no  doors,  nor  are  there 
the  remains  of  any.  Within,  on  each  side,  are  three  nich- 
es in  the  wall,  about  eight  or  ten  inches  square,  with  a 
cylindrical  stone  about  two  inches  in  diameter  fixed  up- 
right, by  which  perhaps  a  door  was  secured.  Along 
the  cornice  outside,  projecting  about  a  foot  beyond  the 
front,  holes  were' drilled  at  intervals  through  the  stone; 
and  our  impression  was,  that  an  immense  cotton  cloth, 
running  the  whole  length  of  the  building,  perhaps  paint- 
ed in  a  style  corresponding  with  the  ornaments,  was  at- 
tached to  this  cornice,  and  raised  and  lowered  like  a 
curtain,  according  to  the  exigencies  of  sun  and  rain. 
Such  a  curtain  is  used  now  in  front  of  the  piazzas  of 
some  haciendas  in  Yucatan. 

The  tops  of  the  doorways  were  all  broken.  They 
had  evidently  been  square,  and  over  every  one  were 
large  niches  in  the  wall  on  each  side,  in  which  the  lin- 
tels had  been  laid.  These  lintels  had  all  fallen,  and  the 
stones  above  formed  broken  natural  arches.  Under- 
neath were  heaps  of  rubbish,  but  there  were  no  remains 
of  lintels.  If  they  had  been  single  slabs  of  stone,  some 
of  them  must  have  been  visible  and  prominent ;  and  we 
made  up  our  minds  that  these  lintels  were  of  wood. 
We  had  no  authority  for  this.  It  is  not  suggested  ei- 

>«  saw  afterward 
>d  all  daub 

at  this  giv£s  an  - 

gr.;  tge  of  the  buil.liiigs.     fk* 

as  we  8^w 

wfaoie  lenc«ii  n>f  iKr 



o»ly   remain  ;    shear 

and  made  the  subject  of 


Cyclopean  remains  in  Greece  and  Italy.  Along  the 
top  was  a  layer  of  flat  stone,  and  the  sides,  being  plas- 
tered, presented  a  flat  surface.  The  long,  unbroken  cor- 
ridors in  front  of  the  palace  were  probably  intended  for 
lords  and  gentlemen  in  waiting;  or  perhaps,  in  that 
beautiful  position,  which,  before  the  forest  grew  up, 
must  have  commanded  an  extended  view  of  a  cultiva- 
ted and  inhabited  plain,  the  king  himself  sat  in  it  to  re- 
ceive the  reports  of  his  officers  and  to  administer  justice. 
Under  our  dominion  Juan  occupied  the  front  corridor 
as  a  kitchen,  and  the  other  was  our  sleeping  apartment. 
From  the  centre  door  of  this  corridor  a  range  of  stone 
steps  thirty  feet  long  leads  to  a  rectangular  courtyard, 
eighty  feet  long  by  seventy  broad.  On  each  side  of 
the  steps  are  grim  and  gigantic  figures,  carved  on  stone 
in  basso-relievo,  nine  or  ten  feet  high,  and  in  a  position 
slightly  inclined  backward  from  the  end  of  the  steps 
to  the  floor  of  the  corridor.  The  engraving  opposite 
represents  this  side  of  the  courtyard,  and  the  one  next 
following  shows  the  figures  alone,  on  a  larger  scale. 
They  are  adorned  with  rich  headdresses  and  neck- 
laces, but  their  attitude  is  that  of  pain  and  trouble. 
The  design  and  anatomical  proportions  of  the  figures 
are  faulty,  but  there  is  a  force  of  expression  about  them 
which  shows  the  skill  and  conceptive  power  of  the  ar- 
tist. When  we  first  took  possession  of  the  palace  this 
courtyard  was  encumbered  with  trees,  so  that  we  could 
hardly  see  across  it,  and  it  was  so  filled  up  with  rubbish 
that  we  were  obliged  to  make  excavations  of  several 
feet  before  these  figures  could  be  drawn. 

On  each  side  of  the  courtyard  the  palace  was  divided 
into  apartments,  probably  for  sleeping.  On  the  right 
the  piers  have  all  fallen  down.  On  the  left  they  are 
still  standing,  and  ornamented  with  stucco  figure*.  In 

COLOSSAL       BAS       RELIEFS         IN       STONE 
on  the  East  side  of  Principal  Court  of  tliePalfctcePalenque. 

tr>  S/f 

red  1  ure  the  rt  .• 

>ng,  wb.  stretched  across 

ood  ^e 

«Mne  time  after  v 

!e  doors.     It  wot*  n 

xrs,  not  a  vestige 

At  the  farther  side  of  the  courtyard  was 


fet  main  TO- 

glyphics.     The  plate  opp-  resents  this  .- 

The  whole  courtyard  w:  .  h  trees,  and 

it  wtt 


time  we  descended  ti- 

ired  us  and  it  }••  vme 

of  the  inoai 
exce-  the 

'  form  bare  ; 

Mi  profcw:  1  with  * 

or  ce-1 

curious  and 
y  be  brought  to 

I  materials,  and 

k«  has  to  encounter ;  and, 

te  spec- 

316  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

The  part  of  the  building  which  forms  the  rear  of  the 
courtyard,  communicating  with  it  by  the  steps,  consists 
of  two  corridors,  the  same  as  the  front,  paved,  plas- 
tered, and  ornamented  with  stucco.  The  floor  of  the 
corridor  fronting  the  courtyard  sounded  hollow,  and  a 
breach  had  been  made  in  it  which  seemed  to  lead  into 
a  subterraneous  chamber  ;  but  in  descending,  by  means 
of  a  tree  with  notches  cut  in  it,  and  with  a  candle,  we 
found  merely  a  hollow  in  the  earth,  not  bounded  by  any 

In  the  farther  corridor  the  wall  was  in  some  places 
broken,  and  had  several  separate  coats  of  piaster  and 
paint.  In  one  place  we  counted  six  layers,  each  of 
which  had  the  remains  of  colours.  In  another  place 
there  seemed  a  line  of  written  characters  in  black  ink. 
We  made  an  effort  to  get  at  them  ;  but,  in  endeavouring 
to  remove  a  thin  upper  stratum,  they  came  off  with  it, 
and  we  desisted. 

This  corridor  opened  upon  a  second  courtyard,  eighty 
feet  long  and  but  thirty  across.  The  floor  of  the  cor- 
ridor was  ten  feet  above  that  of  the  courtyard,  and  on 
the  wall  underneath  were  square  stones  with  hiero- 
glyphics sculptured  upon  them.  On  the  piers  were 
stuccoed  figures,  but  in  a  ruined  condition. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  courtyard  were  two  ranges 
of  corridors,  which  terminated  the  building  in  this  di- 
rection. The  first  of  them  is  divided  into  three  apart- 
ments, with  doors  opening  from  the  extremities  upon 
the  western  corridor.  All  the  piers  are  standing  ex- 
cept that  on  the  northwest  corner.  All  are  covered 
with  stucco  ornaments,  and  one  with  hieroglyphics. 
The  rest  contain  figures  in  bas-relief,  three  of  which, 
being  those  least  ruined,  are  represented  in  the  opposite 

S  T  U  C  C 


F        i    N       STUC 

e  ofPalaeePalenque 

B  A    £        RELIEF          IN        STUCCO 

on  West  Side  or  Pala,oePaI«nque. 

TOWERS.  317 

The  first  was  enclosed  by  a  border,  very  wide  at  the 
bottom,  part  of  which  is  destroyed.  The  subject  con- 
sists of  two  figures  with  facial  angles  similar  to  that  in 
the  plate  before  given,  plumes  of  feathers  and  other 
decorations  for  headdresses,  necklaces,  girdles,  and 
sandals  ;  each  has  hold  of  the  same  curious  baton,  part 
of  which  is  destroyed,  and  opposite  their  hands  are  hie- 
roglyphics, which  probably  give  the  history  of  these 
incomprehensible  personages.  The  others  are  more 
ruined,  and  no  attempt  has  been  made  to  restore  them. 
One  is  kneeling  as  if  to  receive  an  honour,  and  the 
other  a  blow. 

So  far  the  arrangements  of  the  palace  are  simple  and 
easily  understood  ;  but  on  the  left  are  several  distinct 
and  independent  buildings,  as  will  be  seen  by  the  plan, 
the  particulars  of  which,  however,  I  do  not  consider  it 
necessary  to  describe.  The  principal  of  these  is  the 
tower,  on  the  south  side  of  the  second  court.  This 
tower  is  conspicuous  by  its  height  and  proportions,  but 
on  examination  in  detail  it  is  found  unsatisfactory  and 
uninteresting.  The  base  is  thirty  feet  square,  and  it  has 
three  stories.  Entering  over  a  heap  of  rubbish  at  the 
base,  we  found  within  another  tower,  distinct  from  the 
outer  one,  and  a  stone  staircase,  so  narrow  that  a  large 
man  could  not  ascend  it.  The  staircase  terminates 
against  a  dead  stone  ceiling,  closing  all  farther  passage, 
the  last  step  being  only  six  or  eight  inches  from  it. 
For  what  purpose  a  staircase  was  carried  up  to  such  a 
bootless  termination  we  could  not  conjecture.  The 
whole  tower  was  a  substantial  stone  structure,  and  in 
its  arrangements  and  purposes  about  as  incomprehen- 
sible as  the  sculptured  tablets. 

East  of  the  tower  is  another  building  with  two  cor- 
ridors, one  richly  decorated  with  pictures  in  stucco,  and 

318  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

having  in  the  centre  the  elliptical  tablet  represented  in 
the  engraving  opposite.  It  is  four  feet  long  and  three 
wide,  of  hard  stone  set  in  the  wall,  and  the  sculpture  is 
in  bas-relief.  Around  it  are  the  remains  of  a  rich  stucco 
border.  The  principal  figure  sits  cross-legged  on  a 
couch  ornamented  with  two  leopards'  heads ;  the  atti- 
tude is  easy,  the  physiognomy  the  same  as  that  of  the 
other  personages,  and  the  expression  calm  and  benevo- 
lent. The  figure  wears  around  its  neck  a  necklace  of 
pearls,  to  which  is  suspended  a  small  medallion  con- 
taining a  face ;  perhaps  intended  as  an  image  of  the 
sun.  Like  every  other  subject  of  sculpture  we  had 
seen  in  the  country,  the  personage  had  earrings,  brace- 
lets on  the  wrists,  and  a  girdle  round  the  loins.  The 
headdress  differs  from  most  of  the  others  at  Palenque  in 
that  it  wants  the  plumes  of  feathers.  Near  the  head 
are  three  hieroglyphics. 

The  other  figure,  which  seems  that  of  a  woman,  is 
sitting  cross-legged  on  the  ground,  richly  dressed,  and 
apparently  in  the  act  of  making  an  offering.  In  this 
supposed  offering  is  seen  a  plume  of  feathers,  in  which 
the  headdress  of  the  principal  person  is  deficient.  Over 
the  head  of  the  sitting  personage  are  four  hieroglyphics. 
This  is  the  only  piece  of  sculptured  stone  about  the  pal- 
ace except  those  in  the  courtyard.  Under  it  formerly 
stood  a  table,  of  which  the  impression  against  the  wall 
is  still  visible,  and  which  is  given  in  the  engraving  in 
faint  lines,  after  the  model  of  other  tables  still  existing 
in  other  places. 

At  the  extremity  of  this  corridor  there  is  an  aperture 
in  the  pavement,  leading  by  a  flight  of  steps  to  a  plat- 
form ;  from  this  a  door,  with  an  ornament  in  stucco 
over  it,  opens  by  another  flight  of  steps  upon  a  narrow, 
dark  passage,  terminating  in  other  corridors,  which  run 


'  a 

R  E"  IN  TONE 

BAS        RELIEF        IN         STUCCO 

,  tin-  Hut,  „{  „  doprway  st 


ns  in 

•*e  differ- 

5  rigi; 



family ;  this  room  with  the  small  altar,  we  may  suppose, 
was  what  would  be  called,  in  our  own  times,  a  royal 

With  these  helps  and  the  aid  of  the  plan,  the  reader 
will  be  able  to  find  his  way  through  the  ruined  palace 
of  Palenque ;  he  will  form  some  idea  of  the  profusion 
of  its  ornaments,  of  their  unique  and  striking  character, 
and  of  their  mournful  effect,  shrouded  by  trees ;  and 
perhaps  with  him,  as  with  us,  fancy  will  present  it  as  it 
was  before  the  hand  of  ruin  had  swept  over  it,  perfect 
in  its  amplitude  and  rich  decorations,  and  occupied  by 
the  strange  people  whose  portraits  and  figures  now  adorn 
its  walls. 

The  reader  will  not  be  surprised  that,  with  such  ob- 
jects to  engage  our  attention,  we  disregarded  some  of 
the  discomforts  of  our  princely  residence.  We  ex- 
pected at  this  place  to  live  upon  game,  but  were  dis- 
appointed. A  wild  turkey  we  could  shoot  at  any  time 
from  the  door  of  the  palace  ;  but,  after  trying  one,  we 
did.  not  venture  to  trifle  with  our  teeth  upon  another ; 
and  besides  these,  there  was  nothing  but  parrots,  mon- 
keys, and  lizards,  all  very  good  eating,  but  which  we 
kept  in  reserve  for  a  time  of  pressing  necessity.  The 
density  of  the  forest  and  the  heavy  rains  would,  how- 
ever, have  made  sporting  impracticable. 

Once  only  I  attempted  an  exploration.  From  the 
door  of  the  palace,  almost  on  a  line  with  the  front,  rose 
a  high  steep  mountain,  which  we  thought  must  com- 
mand a  view  of  the  city  in  its  whole  extent,  and  per- 
haps itself  contain  ruins.  I  took  the  bearing,  and,  with 
a  compass  in  my  hand  and  an  Indian  before  me  with 
his  machete,  from  the  rear  of  the  last-mentioned  build- 
ing cut  a  straight  line  up  east-northeast  to  the  top.  The 
ascent  was  so  steep  that  I  was  obliged  to  haul  myself 
up  by  the  branches.  On  the  top  was  a  high  mound  of 

THE     AQUEDUCT.  321 

stones,  with  a  foundation-wall  still  remaining.  Proba- 
bly a  tower  or  temple  had  stood  there,  but  the  woods 
were  as  thick  as  below,  and  no  part  of  the  ruined  city, 
not  even  the  palace,  could  be  seen.  Trees  were  grow- 
ing out  of  the  top,  up  one  of  which  I  climbed,  but  could 
not  see  the  palace  or  any  one  of  the  buildings.  Back 
toward  the  mountain  was  nothing  but  forest ;  in  front, 
through  an  opening  in  the  trees,  we  saw  a  great  wood- 
ed plain  extending  to  Tobasco  and  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  ; 
and  the  Indian  at  the  foot  of  the  tree,  peering  through 
the  branches,  turned  his  face  up  to  me  with  a  beaming 
expression,  and  pointing  to  a  little  spot  on  the  plain, 
which  was  to  him  the  world,  cried  out,  "  esta  el  pue- 
blo," "  there  is  the  village."  This  was  the  only  occa- 
sion on  which  I  attempted  to  explore,  for  it  was  the 
only  time  I  had  any  mark  to  aim  at. 

I  must  except,  however,  the  exploration  of  an  aque- 
duct which  Pawling  and  I  attempted  together.  It  is 
supplied  by  a  stream  which  runs  at  the  base  of  the  ter- 
race on  which  the  palace  stands.  At  the  time  of  our 
arrival  the  whole  stream  passed  through  this  aqueduct. 
It  was  now  swollen,  and  ran  over  the  top  and  along- 
side. At  the  mouth  we  had  great  difficulty  in  stem- 
ming the  torrent.  Within  it  was  perfectly  dark,  and 
we  could  not  move  without  candles.  The  sides  were 
of  smooth  stones  about  four  feet  high,  and  the  roof 
was  made  by  stones  lapping  over  like  the  corridors  of 
the  buildings.  At  a  short  distance  from  the  entrance 
the  passage  turned  to  the  left,  and  at  a  distance  of  one 
hundred  and  sixty  feet  it  was  completely  blocked  up 
by  the  ruins  of  the  roof,  which  had  fallen  down.  What 
was  its  direction  beyond  it  was  impossible  to  deter- 
mine, but  certainly  it  did  not  pass  under  the  palace,  as 
has  been  supposed. 

VOL.  II.— S  s 


Besides  the  claps  of  thunder  and  flashes  of  lightning, 
we  had  one  alarm  at  night.  It  was  from  a  noise  that 
sounded  like  the  cracking  of  a  dry  branch  under  a 
stealthy  tread,  which,  as  we  all  started  up  together, 
I  thought  was  that  of  a  wild  beast,  but  which  Mr.  Cath- 
erwood,  whose  bed  was  nearer,  imagined  to  be  that  of 
a  man.  We  climbed  up  the  mound  of  fallen  stones  at 
the  end  of  this  corridor,  but  beyond  all  was  thick  dark- 
ness. Pawling  fired  twice  as  an  intimation  that  we 
were  awake,  and  we  arranged  poles  across  the  corridor 
as  a  trap,  so  that  even  an  Indian  could  not  enter  from 
that  quarter  without  being  thrown  down  with  some  con- 
siderable noise  and  detriment  to  his  person. 

Besides  moschetoes  and  garrapatas,  or  ticks,  we  suf- 
fered from  another  worse  insect,  called  by  the  natives 
nig-uas,  which,  we  are  told,  pestered  the  Spaniards  on 
their  first  entry  into  the  country,  and  which,  says  the 
historian,  "  ate  their  Way  into  the  Flesh,  under  the 
Nails  of  the  Toes,  then  laid  their  Nits  there  within,  and 
multiplied  in  such  manner  that  there  was  no  ridding 
them  but  by  Cauteries,  so  that  some  lost  their  Toes, 
and  some  their  Feet,  whereas  they  should  at  first  have 
been  picked  out ;  but  being  as  yet  unacquainted  with 
the  Evil,  they  knew  not  how  to  apply  the  Remedy." 

This  description  is  true  even  to  the  last  clause.  We 
had  escaped  them  until  our  arrival  at  Palenque,  and 
being  unacquainted  with  the  evil,  did  not  know  how  to 
apply  the  remedy.  I  carried  one  in  my  foot  for  sever- 
al days,  conscious  that  something  was  wrong,  but  not 
knowing  what,  until  the  nits  had  been  laid  and  multi- 
plied. Pawling  undertook  to  pick  them  out  with  a 
penknife,  which  left  a  large  hole  in  the  flesh;  and,  un- 
luckily, from  the  bites  of  various  insects  my  foot  be- 
came so  inflamed  that  I  could  not  get  on  shoe  or  stock- 


ing.  I  was  obliged  to  lie  by,  and,  sitting  an  entire  day 
with  my  foot  in  a  horizontal  position,  uncovered,  it  was 
assaulted  by  small  black  flies,  the  bites  of  which  I  did 
not  feel  at  the  moment  of  infliction,  but  which  left 
marks  like  the  punctures  of  a  hundred  pins.  The  irri- 
tation was  so  great,  and  the  swelling  increased  so  much, 
that  I  became  alarmed,  and  determined  to  return  to  the 
village.  It  was  no  easy  matter  to  get  there.  The  foot 
was  too  big  to  put  in  a  stirrup,  and,  indeed,  to  keep  it 
but  for  a  few  moments  in  a  hanging  position  made  it 
feel  as  if  the  blood  would  burst  through  the  skin,  and 
the  idea  of  striking  it  against  a  bush  makes  me  shudder 
even  now.  It  was  indispensable,  however,  to  leave  the 
place.  I  sent  in  to  the  village  for  a  mule,  and  on  the 
tenth  day  after  my  arrival  at  the  ruins,  hopped  down 
the  terrace,  mounted,  and  laid  the  unfortunate  member 
on  a  pillow  over  the  pommel  of  the  saddle.  This  gave 
me,  for  that  muddy  road,  a  very  uncertain  seat.  I  had 
a  man  before  me  to  cut  the  branches,  yet  my  hat  was 
knocked  off  three  or  four  times,  and  twice  I  was  obliged 
to  dismount ;  but  in  due  season,  to  my  great  relief,  we 
cleared  the  woods.  After  the  closeness  and  confine- 
ment of  the  forest,  coming  once  more  into  an  open 
country  quickened  every  pulse. 

As  I  ascended  to  the  table  on  which  the  village  stood, 
I  observed  an  unusual  degree  of  animation,  and  a  crowd 
of  people  in  the  grass-grown  street,  probably  some  fif- 
teen or  twenty,  who  seemed  roused  at  the  sight  of  me, 
and  presently  three  or  four  men  on  horseback  rode  to- 
ward me.  I  had  borne  many  different  characters  in 
that  country,  and  this  time  I  was  mistaken  for  three 
padres  who  were  expected  to  arrive  that  morning  from 
Tumbala.  If  the  mistake  had  continued  I  should  have 
had  dinner  enough  for  six  at  least ;  but,  unluckily,  it 


was  soon  discovered,  and  I  rode  on  to  the  door  of  our 
old  house.  Presently  the  alcalde  appeared,  with  his 
keys  in  his  hands  and  in  full  dress,  i.  e.,  his  shirt  was 
inside  of  his  pantaloons;  and  I  was  happy  to  find  that 
he  was  in  a  worse  humour  at  the  coming  of  the  padres 
than  at  our  arrival ;  indeed,  he  seemed  now  rather  to 
have  a  leaning  toward  me,  as  one  who  could  sympathize 
in  his  vexation  at  the  absurdity  of  making  such  a  fuss 
about  them.  When  he  saw  my  foot,  too,  he  really 
showed  some  commiseration,  and  endeavoured  to  make 
me  as  comfortable  as  possible.  The  swelling  had  in- 
creased very  much.  I  was  soon  on  my  back,  and,  lying 
perfectly  quiet,  by  the  help  of  a  medicine-chest,  starva- 
tion, and  absence  of  irritating  causes,  in  two  days  and 
nights  I  reduced  the  inflammation  very  sensibly. 

A     VOICE     FROM     THE     RUINS.  325 


A  Voice  from  the  Ruins. — Buying  Bread. — Arrival  of  Padres. — Cura  of  Palenque. 
— Card  Playing. — Sunday. — Mass. — A  Dinner  Party. — Mementoes  of  Home. — 
Dinner  Customs. — Return  to  the  Ruins. — A  marked  Change. — Terrific  Thun- 
der.— A  Whirlwind.— A  Scene  of  the  Sublime  and  Terrible. 

THE  third  day  I  heard  from  the  ruins  a  voice  of  wail- 
ing. Juan  had  upset  the  lard,  and  every  drop  was 
gone.  The  imploring  letter  J  received  roused  all  my 
sensibilities ;  and,  forgetting  everything  in  the  emergen- 
cy, I  hurried  to  the  alcalde's,  and  told  him  a  hog  must 
die.  The  alcalde  made  difficulties,  and  to  this  day  I 
cannot  account  for  his  concealing  from  me  a  fact  of 
which  he  must  have  been  aware,  to  wit,  that  on  that 
very  night  a  porker  had  been  killed.  Very  early  the 
next  morning  I  saw  a  boy  passing  with  some  strings  of 
fresh  pork,  hailed  him,  and  he  guided  me  to  a  hut  in 
the  suburbs,  but  yesterday  the  dwelling  of  the  unfortu- 
nate quadruped.  I  procured  the  portion  of  some  hon- 
est Palenquian,  and  returned,  happy  in  the  conscious- 
ness of  making  others  so.  That  day  was  memorable, 
too,  for  another  piece  of  good  fortune  ;  for  a  courier  ar- 
rived from  Ciudad  Real  with  despatches  for  Tobasco, 
and  a  back-load  of  bread  on  private  account.  As  soon 
as  the  intelligence  reached  me,  I  despatched  a  messen- 
ger to  negotiate  for  the  whole  stock.  Unfortunately,  it 
was  sweetened,  made  up  into  diamonds,  circles,  and 
other  fanciful  forms,  about  two  inches  long  and  an  inch 
thick,  to  be  eaten  with  chocolate,  and  that  detestable 
lard  was  oozing  out  of  the  crust.  Nevertheless,  it  was 



bread ;  and  placing  it  carefully  on  a  table,  with  a  fresh 
cheese,  the  product  of  our  cow,  I  lay  down  at  night 
full  of  the  joy  that  morning  would  diffuse  over  the  ru- 
ins of  Palenque  ;  but,  alas  !  all  human  calculations  are 
vain.  In  my  first  sleep  I  was  roused  by  a  severe  clap 
of  thunder,  and  detected  an  enormous  cat  on  the  table. 
While  my  boot  was  sailing  toward  her,  with  one  bound 
she  reached  the  wall  and  disappeared  under  the  eaves 
of  the  roof.  I  fell  asleep  again  ;  she  returned,  and  the 
consequences  were  fatal. 

The  padres  were  slow  in  movement,  and  after  keeping 
the  village  in  a  state  of  excitement  for  three  days,  this 
morning  they  made  a  triumphal  entry,  escorted  by  citi- 
zens, and  with  a  train  of  more  than  a  hundred  Indians, 
carrying  hammocks,  chairs,  and  luggage.  The  villages 
of  Tumbala  and  San*  Pedro  had  turned  out  two  or  three 
hundred  strong,  and  carried  them  on  their  backs  and 
shoulders  to  Nopa,  where  they  were  met  by  a  deputa- 
tion from  Palenque,  and  transferred  to  the  village.  It 
is  a  glorious  thing  in  that  country  to  be  a  padre,  and 
next  to  being  a  padre  one's  self  is  the  position  of  being  a 
padre's  friend.  In  the  afternoon  I  visited  them,  but 
after  the  fatigues  of  the  journey  they  were  all  asleep, 
and  the  Indians  around  the  door  were  talking  in  low 
tones  so  as  not  to  disturb  them.  Inside  were  enormous 
piles  of  luggage,  which  showed  the  prudent  care  the 
good  ecclesiastics  took  of  themselves.  The  siesta  over, 
very  soon  they  appeared,  one  after  the  other,  in  dresses, 
or  rather  undresses,  difficult  to  describe,  but  certainly 
by  no  means  clerical ;  neither  of  them  had  coat  or  jacket. 
Two  of  them  were  the  curas  of  Tumbala  and  Ayalon, 
whom  we  had  seen  on  our  journey.  The  third  was  a 
Franciscan  friar  from  Ciudad  Real,  and  they  had  come 
expressly  to  visit  the  ruins.  All  had  suffered  severely 

A     BUSY     PRIEST.  327 

from  the  journey.  The  cura  of  Ayalon  was  a  deputy 
to  Congress,  and  in  Mexico  many  inquiries  had  been 
made  of  him  about  the  ruins,  on  the  supposition  that 
they  were  in  his  neighbourhood,  which  erroneous  sup- 
position he  mentioned  with  a  feeling  reference  to  the 
intervening  mountains.  The  padre  of  Tumbala  was  a 
promising  young  man  of  twenty-eight,  and  weighed  at 
that  time  about  twelve  stone,  or  two  hundred  and  forty 
pounds :  a  heavy  load  to  carry  about  with  him  over 
such  roads  as  they  had  traversed ;  but  the  Dominican 
friar  suffered  most,  and  he  sat  sideways  in  a  hammock, 
with  his  vest  open,  wiping  the  perspiration  from  his 
breast.  They  were  all  intelligent  men,  and,  in  fact,  the 
circumstance  of  their  making  the  journey  for  no  other 
purpose  than  to  visit  the  ruins  was  alone  an  indication 
of  their  superior  character.  The  Congressman  we  had 
seen 'on  our  way  through  his  village,  .and  then  were 
struck  with  his  general  knowledge,  and  particularly 
with  his  force  of  character.  He  had  borne  an  active 
part  in  all  the  convulsions  of  the  country  from  the  time 
of  the  revolution  against  Spain,  of  which  he  had  been 
an  instigator,  and  ever  since,  to  the  scandal  of  the 
Church  party,  stood  forth  as  a  Liberal ;  he  had  played 
the  soldier-  as  well  as  priest,  laying  down  his  blood- 
stained sword  after  a  battle  to  confess  the  wounded  and 
dying ;  twice  wounded,  once  chronicled  among  the 
killed,  an  exile  in  Guatimala,  and  with  the  gradual  re- 
covery of  the  Liberal  party  restored  to  his  place  and 
sent  as  a  deputy  to  Congress,  where  very  soon  he  was 
to  take  part  in  new  convulsions.  They  were  all  start- 
led by  the  stories  of  moschetoes,  insects,  and  reptiles  at 
the  ruins,  and  particularly  by  what  they  had  heard  of 
the  condition  of  my  foot. 

While  we  were  taking  chocolate  the  cura  of  Palenque 


entered.  At  the  time  of  our  first  arrival  he  was  absent 
at  another  village  under  his  charge,  and  I  had  not  seen 
him  before.  He  Avas  more  original  in  his  appearance 
than  either  of  the  others,  being  very  tall,  with  long  black 
hair,  an  Indian  face  and  complexion,  and  certainly  four 
fifths  Indian  blood.  Indeed,  if  I  had  seen  him  in  In- 
dian costume,  and  what  that  is  the  reader  by  this  time 
understands,  I  should  have  taken  him  for  a  "  puro,"  or 
Indian  of  unmixed  descent.  His  dress  was  as  uncler- 
ical  as  his  appearance,  consisting  of  an  old  straw  hat, 
with  the  rim  turned  up  before,  behind,  and  at  the  sides, 
so  as  to  make  four  regular  corners,  with  a  broad  blue 
velvet  riband  for  a  hatband,  both  soiled  by  long  expo- 
sure to  wind  and  rain.  Beneath  this  were  a  check  shirt, 
an  old  blue  silk  neckcloth  with  yellow  stripes,  a  striped 
roundabout  jacket,  .black  waistcoat,  and  pantaloons 
made  of  bedticking,  not  meeting  the  waistcoat  by  two 
inches,  the  whole  tall  figure  ending  below  in  yellow 
buckskin  shoes.  But  under  this  outre  appearance  ex- 
isted a  charming  simplicity  and  courtesy  of  manner,  and 
when  he  spoke  his  face  beamed  with  kindness.  The 
reception  given  him  showed  the  good  feeling  existing 
among  the  padres ;  and  after  some  general  conversa- 
tion, the  chocolate  cups  were  removed,  and  one  of  the 
padres  went  to  his  chest,  whence  he  produced  a  pack 
of  cards,  which  he  placed  upon  the  table.  He  said  that 
he  always  carried  them  with  him,  and  it  was  very  pleas- 
ant to  travel  with  companions,  as,  wherever  they  stopped, 
they  could  have  a  game  at  night.  The  cards  had  ev- 
idently done  much  service,  and  there  was  something 
orderly  and  systematic  in  the  preliminary  arrangements, 
that  showed  the  effect  of  regular  habits  and  a  well-train- 
ed household.  An  old  Indian  servant  laid  on  the  ta- 
ble a  handful  of  grains  of  corn  and  a  new  bundle  of 

CARD    PLAYING.  329 

paper  cigars.  The  grains  of  corn  were  valued  at  a  me- 
dio.  I  declined  joining  in  the  game,  whereupon  one  of 
the  reverend  fathers  kept  aloof  to  entertain  me,  and  the 
other  three  sat  down  to  Monte,  still  taking  -part  in  the 
conversation.  Very  soon  they  became  abstracted,  and 
I  left  them  playing  as  earnestly  as  if  the  souls  of  uncon- 
verted Indians  were  at  stake.  I  had  often  heard  the 
ill-natured  remark  of  foreigners,  that  two  padres  cannot 
meet  in  that  country  without  playing  cards,  but  it  was 
the  first  time  I  had  seen  its  verification ;  perhaps  (I  feel 
guilty  in  saying  so)  because,  except  on  public  occasions, 
it  was  the  first  time  I  had  ever  seen  two  padres  togeth- 
er. Before  I  left  them  the  padres  invited  me  to  dine 
with  them  the  next  day,  and  on  returning  to  my  own 
quarters  I  found  that  Don  Santiago,  the  gentleman  who 
gave  them  the  dinner,  and,  next  to  the  prefect,  the  prin- 
cipal inhabitant,  had  called  upon  me  with  a  like  invita- 
tion, which  I  need  not  say  I  accepted. 

The  next  day  was  Sunday ;  the  storm  of  the  night 
had  rolled  away,  the  air  was  soft  and  balmy,  the  grass 
was  green,  and,  not  being  obliged  to  travel,  I  felt  what 
the  natives  aver,  that  the  mornings  of  the  rainy  season 
were  the  finest  in  the  year.  It  was  a  great  day  for  the 
little  church  at  Palenque.  The  four  padres  were  there, 
all  in  their  gowns  and  surplices,  all  assisted  in  the  cer- 
emonies, and  the  Indians  from  every  hut  in  the  village 
went  to  mass.  This  over,  all  retired,  and  in  a  few  min- 
utes the  village  was  as  quiet  as  ever. 

At  twelve  o'clock  I  went  to  the  house  of  Don  Santiago 
to  dine.  The  three  stranger  padres  were  there,  and  most 
of  the  guests  were  assembled.  Don  Santiago,  the  richest 
man  in  Palenque,  and  the  most  extensive  merchant,  re- 
ceived us  in  his  tienda  or  store,  which  was  merely  a  few 
shelves  with  a  counter  before  them  in  one  corner,  and  his 

VOL.  II.— T  T 

330  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

whole  stock  of  merchandise  was  worth  perhaps  twenty 
or  thirty  dollars  ;  but  Don  Santiago  was  entirely  a  differ- 
ent style  of  man  from  one  in  such  small  business  in  this 
country  or  Europe  ;  courteous  in  manners,  and  intelli- 
gent for  that  country ;  he  was  dressed  in  white  panta- 
loons and  red  slippers,  a  clean  shirt  with  an  embroider- 
ed bosom,  and  suspenders,  which  probably  cost  more 
than  all  the  rest  of  his  habiliments,  and  were  not  to  be 
hidden  under  coat  and  waistcoat.  In  this  place,  which 
had  before  seemed  to  me  so  much  out  of  the  world,  I 
was  brought  more  directly  in  contact  with  home  than 
at  any  other  I  visited.  The  chair  on  which  I  sat  came 
from  New- York  ;  also  a  small  looking-glass,  two  pieces 
of  American  "  cottons,"  and  the  remnant  of  a  box  of 
vermicelli,  of  the  existence  of  which  in  the  place  I  was 
not  before  advised.  .  The  most  intimate  foreign  relations 
of  the  inhabitants  were  with  New- York,  through  the 
port  of  Tobasco.  They  knew  a  man  related  to  a  family 
in  the  village  who  had  actually  been  at  New- York,  and 
a  barrel  of  New- York  flour,  the  bare  mention  of  which 
created  a  yearning,  had  once  reached  the  place.  In 
fact,  New- York  was  more  familiar  to  them  than  any 
other  part  of  the  world  except  the  capital.  Don  San- 
tiago had  a  copy  of  Zavala's  tour  in  the  United  States, 
which,  except  a  few  volumes  of  the  lives  of  saints,  was 
his  library,  and  which  he  knew  almost  by  heart ;  and 
they  had  kept  up  with  our  political  history  so  well  as  to 
know  that  General  Washington  was  not  president,  but 
General  Jackson. 

The  padre  of  Tumbala,  he  of  two  hundred  and  forty 
pounds'  weight,  was  somewhat  of  an  exquisite  in  dress 
for  that  country,  and  had  brought  with  him  his  violin. 
He  was  curious  to  know  the  state  of  musical  science  in 
my  country,  and  whether  the  government  supported 

A     DINNER    PARTY.  331 

good  opera  companies ;  regretted  that  I  could  not  play 
some  national  airs,  and  entertained  himself  and  the 
company  with  several  of  their  own. 

In  the  mean  time  the  padre  of  Palenque  was  still 
missing,  but,  after  being  sent  for  twice,  made  his  ap- 
pearance. The  dinner  was  in  fact  his  ;  but,  on  ac- 
count of  want  of  conveniences  in  the  convent  from  his 
careless  housekeeping,  was  given  by  his  friend  Don 
Santiago  on  his  behalf,  and  the  answer  of  the  boy  sent 
to  call  him  was  that  he  had  forgotten  all  about  it.  He 
was  absent  and  eccentric  enough  for  a  genius,  though 
he  made  no  pretensions  to  that  character.  Don  San- 
tiago told  us  that  he  once  went  to  the  padre's  house, 
where  he  found  inside  a  cow  and  a  calf;  the  cura,  in 
great  perplexity,  apologized,  saying  that  he  could  not 
help  himself,  they  would  come  in ;  and  considered  it  a 
capital  idea  when  Don  Santiago  suggested  to  him  the 
plan  of  driving  them  out. 

As  soon  as  he  appeared  the  other  padres  rallied  him 
upon  his  forgetfulness,  which  they  insisted  was  all  feign- 
ed ;  they  had  won  sixteen  dollars  of  him  the  night  be- 
fore, and  said  that  he  was  afraid  to  come.  He  answer- 
ed in  the  same  strain  that  he  was  a  ruined  man.  They 
offered  him  his  revenge,  and  forthwith  the  table  was 
brought  out,  cards  and  grains  of  corn  were  spread 
upon  it  as  before,  and  while  the  padre  of  Tumbala 
played  the  violin,  the  other  three  played  Monte.  Being 
Sunday,  in  some  places  this  would  be  considered  rather 
irregular ;  at  least,  to  do  so  with  open  doors  would  be 
considered  setting  a  bad  example  to  children  and  ser-  * 
vants ;  and,  in  fact,  considering  myself  on  a  pretty  so- 
ciable footing,  I  could  not  help  telling  them  that  in  my 
country  they  would  all  be  read  out  of  Church.  The 
padre  Congressman  had  met  an  Englishman  in  Mexico 

332  INCIDENTS     Of    TRAVEL. 

who  told  him  the  same  thing,  and  also  the  manner  of 
observing  the  Sunday  in  England,  which  they  all  thought 
must  be  very  stupid. 

Perhaps  upon  less  ground  than  this  the  whole  Span- 
ish American  priesthood  has  at  times  been  denounced 
as  a  set  of  unprincipled  gamblers,  but  I  have  too  warm 
a  recollection  of  their  many  kindnesses  to  hold  them 
up  in  this  light.  They  were  all  intelligent  and  good  men, 
who  would  rather  do  benefits  than  an  injury  ;  in  mat- 
ters connected  with  religion  they  were  most  reverential, 
laboured  diligently  in  their  vocations,  and  were  without 
reproach  among  their  people.  By  custom  and  educa- 
tion they  did  not  consider  that  they  were  doing  wrong. 
From  my  agreeable  intercourse  with  them,  and  my  re- 
gard for  their  many  good  qualities,  I  would  fain  save 
them  from  denunciations  of  utter  unworthiness  which 
might  be  cast  upon  them.  Nevertheless,  it  is  true  that 
dinner  was  delayed,  and  all  the  company  kept  waiting 
until  they  had  finished  their  game  of  cards. 

The  table  was  set  in  an  unoccupied  house  adjoining. 
Every  white  man  in  the  village,  except  the  prefect  and 
alcalde,  was  present ;  the  former  being  away  at  his 
hacienda,  and  the  latter,  from  the  sneering  references 
he  made  to  it,  I  suspected  was  not  invited.  In  all 
there  were  fifteen  or  sixteen,  and  I  was  led  to  the  seat 
of  honour  at  the  head  of  the  table.  I  objected,  but  the 
padres  seated  me  perforce.  After  the  gentlemen  were 
seated,  it  was  found  that,  by  sitting  close,  there  was 
room  for  some  ladies,  and  after  the  arrangements  for 
the  table  were  completed,  they  were  invited  to  take 
seats.  Unluckily,  there  was  only  room  for  three,  who 
sat  all  together  on  my  left.  In  a  few  minutes  I  felt 
very  much  as  if  the  dinner  was  got  up  expressly  for  me. 
It  was  long  since  I  had  seen  such  a  table,  and  I  mourned 


in  spirit  that  I  had  not  sent  notice  for  Mr.  Catherwood 
to  come  to  the  village  accidentally  in  time  to  get  an  in- 
vitation. But  it  was  too  late  now ;  there  was  no  time 
for  reflection ;  every  moment  the  dinner  was  going. 
In  some  places  my  position  would  have  required  me  to 
devote  myself  to  those  on  each  side  of  me ;  but  at  Pa- 
lenque  they  devoted  themselves  to  me.  If  I  stopped 
a  moment  my  plate  was  whipped  away,  and  another 
brought,  loaded  with  something  else.  It  may  seem 
unmannerly,  but  I  watched  the  fate  of  certain  dishes, 
particularly  some  dolces  or  sweetmeats,  hoping  they 
would  not  be  entirely  consumed,  as  I  purposed  to  se- 
cure all  that  should  be  left  to  take  with  me  to  the  ruins. 
Wine  was  on  the  table,  which  was  recommended  to  me 
as  coming  from  New-York,  but  this  was  not  enough  to 
induce  me  to  taste  it.  There  was  no  water,  and,  by- 
the-way,  water  is  never  put  on  the  table,  and  never 
drunk  until  after  the  dolces,  which  come  on  as  the  last 
course,  when  it  is  served  in  a  large  tumbler,  which 
passes  round  for  each  one  to  sip  from.  It  is  entirely 
irregular  and  ill  bred  to  ask  for  water  during  the  meal. 
Each  guest,  as  he  rose  from  the  table,  bowed  to  Don 
Santiago,  and  said  "  muchas  gratias,"  which  I  con- 
sidered in  bad  taste,  and  not  in  keeping  with  the  deli- 
cacy of  Spanish  courtesy,  as  the  host  ought  rather  to 
thank  his  guests  for  their  society  than  they  to  thank 
him  for  his  dinner.  Nevertheless,  as  I  had  more  rea- 
son to  be  thankful  than  any  of  them,  I  conformed  to 
the  example  set  me.  After  dinner  my  friends  became 
drowsy  and  retired  to  siesta.  I  found  my  way  back 
to  Don  Santiago's  house,  where,  in  a  conversation  with 
the  ladies,  I  secured  the  remains  of  the  dolces,  and 
bought  out  his  stock  of  vermicelli. 

In  the  morning,  my  foot  being  sufficiently  recovered, 


I  rode  up  to  the  house  of  the  padres  to  escort  them  to 
the  ruins.  They  had  passed  the  evening  sociably  at 
cards,  and  again  the  padre  of  Palenque  was  wanting. 
We  rode  over  to  his  house,  and  waited  while  he  secured 
carefully  on  the  back  of  a  tall  horse  a  little  boy,  who 
looked  so  wonderfully  like  him,  that,  out  of  respect  to 
his  obligation  of  celibacy,  people  felt  delicate  in  asking 
whose  son  he  was.  This  done,  he  tied  an  extra  pair  of 
shoes  behind  his  own  saddle,  and  we  set  off  with  the 
adios  of  all  the  village.  The  padres  intended  to  pass 
the  night  at  the  ruins,  and  had  a  train  of  fifty  or  sixty 
Indians  loaded  with  beds,  bedding,  provisions,  sacate 
for  mules,  and  multifarious  articles,  down  to  a  white 
earthen  washbowl ;  besides  which,  more  favoured  than 
we,  they  had  four  or  five  women. 

Entering  the  foiest,  we  found  the  branches  of  the 
trees,  which  had  been  trimmed  on  my  return  to  the  vil- 
lage, again  weighed  down  by  the  rains ;  the  streams 
were  very  bad ;  the  padres  were  well  mounted,  but  no 
horsemen,  dismounted  very  often,  and  under  my  escort 
we  got  lost,  but  at  eleven  o'clock,  very  much  to  the  sat- 
isfaction of  all,  our  long,  strange-looking,  straggling 
party  reached  the  ruins.  The  old  palace  was  once  more 
alive  with  inhabitants. 

There  was  a  marked  change  in  it  since  I  left ;  the 
walls  were  damp,  the  corridors  wet ;  the  continued  rains 
were  working  through  cracks  and  crevices,  and  opening 
leaks  in  the  roof;  saddles,  bridles,  boots,  shoes,  &c., 
were  green  and  mildewed,  and  the  guns  and  pistols 
covered  with  a  coat  of  rust.  Mr.  Catherwood's  ap- 
pearance startled  me.  He  was  wan  and  gaunt ;  lame, 
like  me,  from  the  bites  of  insects  ;  his  face  was  swollen, 
and  his  left  arm  hung  with  rheumatism  as  if  paralyzed. 

We  sent  the  Indians  across  the  courtyard  to  the  op- 

DOING     THE     HONOURS.  335 

posite  corridor,  where  the  sight  of  our  loose  traps  might 
not  tempt  them  to  their  undoing,  and  selecting  a  place 
for  that  purpose,  the  cartarets  were  set  up  immediately, 
and,  with  all  the  comforts  of  home,  the  padres  lay  down 
for  an  hour's  rest.  I  had  no  ill-will  toward  these  worthy 
men ;  on  the  contrary,  the  most  friendly  feeling  ;  but, 
to  do  the  honours  of  the  palace,  I  invited  them  to  dine 
with  us.  Catherwood  and  Pawling  objected,  and  they 
would  have  done  better  if  left  to  themselves ;  but  they 
appreciated  the  spirit  of  the  invitation,  and  returned  me 
muchas  gratias.  After  their  siesta  I  escorted  them  over 
the  palace,  and  left  them  in  their  apartment.  Singu- 
larly enough,  that  night  there  was  no  rain ;  so  that,  with 
a  hat  before  a  candle,  we  crossed  the  courtyard  and 
paid  them  a  visit ;  we  found  the  three  reverend  gentle- 
men sitting  on  a  mat  on  the  ground,  winding  up  the  day 
with  a  comfortable  game  at  cards,  and  the  Indians 
asleep  around  them.  t?)  .$£•'•' 

The  next  morning,  with  the  assistance  of  Pawling 
and  the  Indians  to  lift  and  haul  them,  I  escorted  them 
to  the  other  buildings,  heard  some  curious  speculations, 
and  at  two  o'clock,  with  many  expressions  of  good-will, 
and  pressing  invitations  to  their  different  convents,  they 
returned  to  the  village. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  the  storm  set  in  with  terrific 
thunder,  which  at  night  rolled  with  fearful  crashes 
against  the  walls,  while  the  vivid  lightning  flashed 
along  the  corridors.  The  padres  had  laughed  at  us 
for  their  superior  discrimination  in  selecting  a  sleeping- 
place,  and  this  night  their  apartment  was  flooded. 
From  this  time  my  notebook  contains  memoranda  only 
of  the  arrival  of  the  Indians,  with  the  time  that  the 
storm  set  in,  its  violence  and  duration,  the  deluges  of 
rain,  and  the  places  to  which  we  were  obliged  to  move 


our  beds.  Every  day  our  residence  became  more  wet 
and  uncomfortable.  On  Thursday,  the  thirtieth  of  May, 
the  storm  opened  with  a  whirlwind.  At  night  the  crash 
of  falling  trees  rang  through  the  forest,  rain  fell  in  del- 
uges, the  roaring  of  thunder  was  terrific,  and  as  we  lay 
looking  out,  the  aspect  of  the  ruined  palace,  lighted 
by  the  glare  of  lightning  such  as  I  never  saw  in  this 
country,  was  awfully  grand ;  in  fact,  there  was  too  much 
of  the  sublime  and  terrible.  The  storm  threatened  the 
very  existence  of  the  building ;  and,  knowing  the  totter- 
ing state  of  the  walls,  for  some  moments  we  had  appre- 
hensions lest  the  whole  should  fall  and  crush  us.  In 
the  morning  the  courtyard  and  the  ground  below  the 
palace  were  flooded,  and  by  this  time  the  whole  front 
was  so  wet  that  we  were  obliged  to  desert  it  and  move 
to  the  other  side  ojp  the  corridor.  Even  here  we  were 
not  much  better  off;  but  we  remained  until  Mr.  Gather- 
wood  had  finished  his  last,  drawing ;  and  on  Saturday, 
the  first  of  June,  like  rats  leaving  a  sinking  ship,  we 
broke  up  and  left  the  ruins.  Before  leaving,  however, 
I  will  present  a  description  of  the  remaining  buildings. 

:  ;=; ;,-  fivVMS  -'  j  •  lp(S:P;  S.VJAC  t 


ti  ih  '  : 

.1  ita 



..•'--  '•  V-.-.-7-./.'^T 



Kluvaiion  showing  Hie  Kinldini:,  and  the  Pyramid  on  which  it  stands. 
'  >o  .Cott. 

I II 111 III III I I I I I 111 I 

Front  Elevation. 

1'lan  of  No.  1,  Casasde  Piedras,  Palenque. 
Scale  of  feet. 

jo     5^0 


P.  Catherwood,  Dei. 

Afeonn-aptY,  Slephetu  and  Cathmmod. 

Voi.  II.    lo  (ace  page  339. 

DETAILS     OF     A     RUINED     EDIFICE.          339 

The  engraving  opposite  represents  the  same  build- 
ing cleared  from  forest  and  restored,  and,  according 
to  our  division,  marked  on  the .  plan  No.  1.  In  the 
plate  are  given  the  ground-plan  (beginning  at  the  bot- 
tom), the  front  elevation,  a  section  showing  the  posi- 
tion of  tablets  within,  and  the  front  elevation  on  a 
smaller  scale,  with  the  pyramidal  structure  on  which  it 

The  building  is  seventy-six  feet  in  front  and  twenty- 
five  feet  deep.  It  has  five  doors  and  six  piers,  all 
standing.  The  whole  front  was  richly  ornamented  in 
stucco,  and  the  corner  piers  are  covered  with  hiero- 
glyphics, each  of  which  contains  ninety-six  squares. 



The  four  piers  are  ornamented  with  human  figures, 
two  on  each  side,  facing  each  other,  which  are  repre- 
sented in  the  following  engravings  in  the  order  in  which 
they  stand  upon  the  piers. 

The  first  is  that  of  a  woman  with  a  child  in  her  arms ; 
at  least  we  suppose  it  to  be  intended  for  a  woman  from 
the  dress.  It  is  enclosed  by  an  elaborate  border,  and 
stands  on  a  rich  ornament.  The  head  is  destroyed. 
Over  the  top  are  three  hieroglyphics,  and  there  are  tra- 
ces of  hieroglyphics  broken  off  in  the  corner.  The 
other  three  are  of  the  same  general  character ;  each 
probably  had  an  infant  in  the  arms,  and  over  each  are 

At  the  foot  of  the  two  centre  piers,  resting  on  the 
steps,  are  two  stone  tablets  with  what  seemed  interest- 
ing figures,  but  so  encumbered  with  ruins  that  it  was 
impossible  to  draw  them. 



on  one  of  the  Piers  of  ]SJ?1  rasas 

•  *   or   T A.-,  v  «  L. 


-  - 


.  X?]  Casas  dePLedra  . 

PALMfQTTE.    RTira 


The  interior  of  the  building  is  divided  into  two  corri- 
dors, running  lengthwise,  with  a  ceiling  rising  nearly  to 
a  point,  as  in  the  palace,  and  paved  with  large  square 
stones.  The  front  corridor  is  seven  feet  wide.  The 
separating  wall  is  very  massive,  and  has  three  doors, 
a  large  one  in  the  centre,  and  a  smaller  one  on  each 
side.  In  this  corridor,  on  each  side  of  the  principal 
door,  is  a  large  tablet  of  hieroglyphics,  each  thirteen 
feet  long  and  eight  feet  high,  and  each  divided  into  two 
hundred  and  forty  squares  of  characters  or  symbols. 
Both  are  set  in  the  wall  so  as  to  project  three  or  four 
inches.  In  one  place  a  hole  had  been  made  in  the 
wall  close  to  the  side  of  one  of  them,  apparently  for 
the  purpose  of  attempting  its  removal,  by  which  we 
discovered  that  the  stone  is  about  a  foot  thick.  The 

i>nd  jj.out 
;bio  yen  Lovododb  him  , 

ij  "io  i 

*;b  fei 


sculpture  is  in  bas-relief.  The  tablets  are  represented 
in  the  engravings  opposite. 

The  construction  of  the  tablets  was  a  large  stone  on 
each  side,  and  smaller  ones  in  the  centre,  as  indicated 
by  the  dark  lines  in  the  engravings. 

In  the  right-hand  tablet  one  line  is  obliterated  by 
water  that  has  trickled  down  for  an  unknown  length  of 
time,  and  formed  a  sort  of  stalactite  or  hard  substance, 
which  has  incorporated  itself  with  the  stone,  and  which 
we  could  not  remove,  though  perhaps  it  might  be  de- 
tached by  some  chemical  process.  In  the  other  tablet, 
nearly  one  half  of  the  hieroglyphics  are  obliterated  by 
the  action  of  water  and  decomposition  of  the  stone. 
When  we  first  saw  them  both  tablets  were  covered 
with  a  thick  coat  of  green  moss,  and  it  was  necessary 
to  wash  and  scrape  them,  clear  the  lines  with  a  stick, 
and  scrub  them  thoroughly,  for  which  last  operation  a 
pair  of  blacking-brushes  that  Juan  had  picked  up  in  my 
house  at  Guatimala,  and  disobeyed  my  order  to  throw 
away  upon  the  road,  proved  exactly  what  we  wanted 
and  could  not  have  procured.  Besides  this  process,  on 
account  of  the  darkness  of  the  corridor,  from  the  thick 
shade  of  the  trees  growing  before  it,  it  was  necessary  to 
burn  candles  or  torches,  and  to  throw  a  strong  light 
upon  the  stones  while  Mr.  Catherwood  was  drawing. 

The  corridor  in  the  rear  is  dark  and  gloomy,  and  di- 
vided into  three  apartments.  Each  of  the  side  apart- 
ments has  two  narrow  openings  about  three  inches  wide 
and  a  foot  high.  They  have  no  remains  of  sculpture, 
or  painting,  or  stuccoed  ornaments.  In  the  centre  apart- 
ment, set  in  the  back  wall,  and  fronting  the  principal 
door  of  entrance,  is  another  tablet  of  hieroglyphics, 
four  feet  six  inches  wide  and  three  feet  six  inches  high. 
The  roof  above  it  is  tight ;  consequently  it  has  not  suf- 


a  - 
5-  > 

t  N  C  I  .  •  •  ^    f  R  A  T  K  L. 

blets  are  represented 

•  was  a  l«g«  stone  on 
>«e?  tu  the  centre,  as  indicated 

;t-   line  is  obliterated  by 

;  icno>vn  length  of 

•hictito  or  hard  substance, 

tone,  and  v 

perhaps  it  might  be  de- 
^pHnicai  sss.     In  the  other  tablet, 

jjan  had'  picked  up  in  my 

.     . 


:     .  ii 


riecessary  to 
9  •  *rong  light 
'Ira  wing. 
my,  and  di- 
;e  side  apart* 
•ui  three  inches  wide 
•-.•minus  of  *.' 
tits.     In  the  centre  apart- 
<ti*,l  fronting  the  principal 
Diet  of  hieroglyphic*, 
t,r*e  feet  six  inches  b 
:Ui ;  conseqpnatly  it  has 

tfflt  fcfcctq** 




Diking  the  ^; 


fered  from  exposure,  and  the  hieroglyphics  are  perfect, 
though  the  stone  is  cracked  lengthwise  through  the  mid- 
dle, as  indicated  in  the  engraving. 

The  impression  made  upon  our  minds  by  these  speak- 
ing but  unintelligible  tablets  I  shall  not  attempt  to  de- 
scribe. From  some  unaccountable  cause  they  have 
never  before  been  presented  to  the  public.  Captains 
Del  Rio  and  Dupaix  both  refer  to  them,  but  in  very 
few  words,  and  neither  of  them  has  given  a  single  draw- 
ing. Acting  under  a  royal  commission,  and  selected, 
doubtless,  as  fit  men  for  the  duties  intrusted  to  them, 
they  cannot  have  been  ignorant  or  insensible  of  their 
value.  It  is  my  belief  they  did  not  give  them  because 
in  both  cases  the  artists  attached  to  their  expedition 
were  incapable  of  the  labour,  and  the  steady,  deter- 
mined perseverance  required  for  drawing  such  compli- 
cated, unintelligible,  and  anomalous  characters.  As  at 
Copan,  Mr.  Catherwood  divided  his  paper  into  squares ; 
the  original  drawings  were  reduced,  and  the  engravings 
corrected  by  himself,  and  I  believe  they  are  as  true 
copies  as  the  pencil  can  make  :  the  real  written  records 
of  a  lost  people.  The  Indians  call  this  building  an  es- 
cuela  or  school,  but  our  friends  the  padres  called  it  a 
tribunal  of  justice,  and  these  stones,  they  said,  contain- 
ed the  tables  of  the  law. 

There  is  one  important  fact  to  be  noticed.  The  hie- 
roglyphics are  the  same  as  were  found  at  Copan  and  Qui- 
rigua.  The  intermediate  country  is  now  occupied  by 
races  of  Indians  speaking  many  different  languages,  and 
entirely  unintelligible  to  each  other ;  but  there  is  room 
for  the  belief  that  the  whole  of  this  country  was  once 
occupied  by  the  same  race,  speaking  the  same  lan- 
guage, or,  at  least,  having  the  same  written  characters. 

There  is  no  staircase  or  other  visible  communication 

344  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

between  the  lower  and  upper  parts  of  this  building,  and 
the  only  way  of  reaching  the  latter  was  by  climbing 
a  tree  which  grows  close  against  the  wall,  and  the 
branches  of  which  spread  over  the  roof.  The  roof  is 
inclined,  and  the  sides  are  covered  with  stucco  orna- 
ments, which,  from  exposure  to  the  elements,  and  the 
assaults  of  trees  and  bushes,  are  faded  and  ruined,  so 
that  it  was  impossible  to  draw  them ;  but  enough  re- 
mained to  give  the  impression  that,  when  perfect  and 
painted,  they  must  have  been  rich  and  imposing. 
Along  the  top  was  a  range  of  pillars  eighteen  inches 
high  and  twelve  apart,  made  of  small  pieces  of  stone 
laid  in  mortar,  and  covered  with  stucco,  crowning 
which  is  a  layer  of  flat  projecting  stones,  having  some- 
what the  appearance  of  a  low  open  balustrade. 

In  front  of  tfeis  building,  at  the  foot  of  the  pyramidal 
structure,  is  a  small  stream,  part  of  which  supplies  the 
aqueduct  before  referred  to.  Crossing  this,  we  come 
upon  a  broken  stone  terrace  about  sixty  feet  on  the 
slope,  with  a  level  esplanade  at  the  top,  one  hundred 
and  ten  feet  in  breadth,  from  which  rises  another  pyram- 
idal structure,  now  ruined  and  overgrown  with  trees ; 
it  is  one  hundred  and  thirty-four  feet  high  on  the  slope, 
and  on  its  summit  is  the  building  marked  No.  2,  like 
the  first  shrouded  among  trees,  but  presented  in  the 
engraving  opposite  as  restored.  The  plate  contains,  as 
before,  the  ground-plan,  front  elevation,  section,  and 
front  elevation  on  a  smaller  scale,  with  the  pyramidal 
structure  on  which  it  stands. 

This  building  is  fifty  feet  front,  thirty-one  feet  deep, 
and  has  three  doorways.  The  whole  front  was  covered 
with  stuccoed  ornaments.  The  two  outer  piers  con- 
tain hieroglyphics  ;  one  of  the  inner  piers  is  fallen,  and 

xi  that*  when  p< 

.    and    imjx 


ILL  OF  ALTAR  .GAS  A    N  °  2 


a  child ;  all  speculations  on  the  subject  are  of  course 
entitled  to  little  regard,  but  perhaps  it  would  not  be 
wrong  to  ascribe  to  these  personages  a  sacerdotal 
character.  The  hieroglyphics  doubtless  explain  all. 
Near  them  are  other  hieroglyphics,  which  reminded  us 
of  the  Egyptian  mode  for  recording  the  name,  history, 
office,  or  character  of  the  persons  represented.  This 
tablet  of  the  cross  has  given  rise  to  more  learned  spec- 
ulations than  perhaps  any  others  found  at  Palenque. 
Dupaix  and  his  commentators,  assuming  for  the  build- 
ing a  very  remote  antiquity,  or,  at  least,  a  period  long 
antecedent  to  the  Christian  era,  account  for  the  appear- 
ance of  the  cross  by  the  argument  that  it  was  known 
and  had  a  symbolical  meaning  among  ancient  nations 
long  before  it  was  established  as  the  emblem  of  the 
Christian  faith.  Our  friends  the  padres,  at  the  sight  of 
it,  immediately  decided  that  the  old  inhabitants  of  Pa- 
lenque were  Christians,  and  by  conclusions  which  are 
sometimes  called  jumping,  they  fixed  the  age  of  the 
buildings  in  the  third  century. 

There  is  reason  to  believe  that  this  particular  build- 
ing was  intended  as  a  temple,  and  that  the  enclosed 
inner  chamber  was  an  ad  oratorio,  or  oratory,  or  altar. 
What  the  rites  and  ceremonies  of  worship  may  have 
been,  no  one  can  undertake  to  say. 

The  upper  part  of  this  building  differs  from  the  first. 
As  before,  there  was  no  staircase  or  other  communica- 
tion inside  or  out,  nor  were  there  the  remains  of  any. 
The  only  mode  of  access  was,  in  like  manner,  by  climb- 
ing a  tree,  the  branches  of  which  spread  across  the  roof. 
The  roof  was  inclined,  and  the  sides  were  richly  orna- 
mented with  stucco  figures,  plants,  and  flowers,  but 
mostly  ruined.  Among  them  were  the  fragments  of  a 
beautiful  head  and  of  two  bodies,  in  justness  of  propor- 


tion  and  symmetry  approaching  the  Greek  models.  On 
the  top  of  this  roof  is  a  narrow  platform,  supporting 
what,  for  the  sake  of  description,  I  shall  call  two  stories. 
The  platform  is  but  two  feet  ten  inches  wide,  and  the 
superstructure  of  the  first  story  is  seven  feet  five  inches 
in  height ;  that  of  the  second  eight  feet  five  inches,  the 
width  of  the  two  being  the  same.  The  ascent  from  one 
to  the  other  is  by  square  projecting  stones,  and  the  cov- 
ering of  the  upper  story  is  of  flat  stones  laid  across  and 
projecting  over.  The  long  sides  of  this  narrow  struc- 
ture are  of  open  stucco  work,  formed  into  curious  and 
indescribable  devices,  human  figures  with  legs  and  arms 
spreading  and  apertures  between ;  and  the  whole  was 
once  loaded  with  rich  and  elegant  ornaments  in  stucco 
relief.  Its  appearance  at  a  distance  must  have  been 
that  of  a  high,  fancifal  lattice.  Altogether,  like  the  rest 
of  the  architecture  and  ornaments,  it  was  perfectly 
unique,  different  from  the  works  of  any  other  people 
with  which  we  were  familiar,  and  its  uses  and  purposes 
entirely  incomprehensible.  Perhaps  it  was  intended  as 
an  observatory.  From  the  upper  gallery,  through  open- 
ings in  the  trees  growing  around,  we  looked  out  over 
an  immense  forest,  and  saw  the  Lake  of  Terminos  and 
the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

Near  this  building  was  another  interesting  monument, 
which  had  been  entirely  overlooked  by  those  who  prece- 
ded us  in  a  visit  to  Palenque,  and  I  mention  this  fact  in 
the  hope  that  the  next  visiter  may  discover  many  things 
omitted  by  us.  It  lies  in  front  of  the  building,  about 
forty  or  fifty  feet  down  the  side  of  the  pyramidal  struc- 
ture. When  we  first  passed  it  with  our  guide  it  lay  on 
its  face,  with  its  head  downward,  and  half  buried  by 
an  accumulation  of  earth  and  stones.  The  outer  side 
was  rough  and  unhewn,  and  our  attention  was  attract- 

Plnne  !*t»iivi  in  front  ort':wa  >\«.  2. 

•  . 

SeaJe  of  foek 

DISCOVERY     OF     A     STATUE.  349 

ed  by  its  size;  our  guide  said  it  was  not  sculptur- 
ed ;  but,  after  he  had  shown  us  everything  that  he  had 
knowledge  of,  and  we  had  discharged  him,  in  passing  it 
again  we  stopped  and  dug  around  it,  and  discovered  that 
the  under  surface  was  carved.  The  Indians  cut  down 
some  saplings  for  levers,  and  rolled  it  over.  The  oppo- 
site engraving  represents  this  monument.  It  is  the  only 
statue  that  has  ever  been  found  at  Palenque.  "We  were 
at  once  struck  with  its  expression  of  serene  repose  and 
its  strong  resemblance  to  Egyptian  statues,  though  in 
size  it  does  not  compare  with  the  gigantic  remains  of 
Egypt.  In  height  it  is  ten  feet  six  inches,  of  which 
two  feet  six  inches  were  under  ground.  The  headdress 
is  lofty  and  spreading ;  there  are  holes  in  the  place  of 
ears,  which  were  perhaps  adorned  with  earrings  of  gold 
and  pearls.  Round  the  neck  is  a  necklace,  and  pressed 
against  the  breast  by  the  right  hand  is  an  instrument 
apparently  with  teeth.  The  left  hand  rests  on  a  hiero- 
glyphic, from  which  descends  some  symbolical  orna- 
ment. The  lower  part  of  the  dress  bears  an  unfortu- 
nate resemblance  to  the  modern  pantaloons,  but  the 
figure  stands  on  what  we  have  always  considered  a 
hieroglyphic,  analogous  again  to  the  custom  in  Egypt 
of  recording  the  name  and  office  of  the  hero  or  other 
person  represented.  The  sides  are  rounded,  and  the 
back  is  of  rough  stone.  Probably  it  stood  imbedded  in 
a  wall. 

From  the  foot  of  the  elevation  on  which  the  last- 
mentioned  building  stands,  their  bases  almost  touching, 
rises  another  pyramidal  structure  of  about  the  same 
height,  on  the  top  of  which  is  the  building  marked  No. 
3.  Such  is  the  density  of  the  forest,  even  on  the  sides 
of  the  pyramidal  structure,  that,  though  in  a  right  line 

350  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

but  a  short  distance  apart,  one  of  these  buildings  cannot 
be  seen  from  the  other. 

The  engraving  opposite  represents  this  building  as 
restored,  not  from  any  fancied  idea  of  what  it  might 
have  been,  but  from  such  remains  and  indications  that 
it  was  impossible  to  make  anything  else  of  it.  It  is 
thirty-eight  feet  front  and  twenty-eight  feet  deep,  and 
has  three  doors.  The  end  piers  are  ornamented  with 
hieroglyphics  in  stucco,  two  large  medallions  in  hand- 
some compartments,  and  the  intermediate  ones  with 
bas-reb'efs,  also  in  stucco ;  in  general  character  similar 
to  those  before  given,  and  for  that  reason,  not  to  multi- 
ply engravings,  I  omit  them. 

Scale  ef  fed. 

Vol.  11.     To  1400  page  JSfl. 

Casa  No.  4,  Front  Corridor. 

Vol.  II.    To  face  p.  351. 

A     CURIOUS     BAS-RELIEF.  351 

The  interior,  again,  is  divided  into  two  corridors, 
about  nine  feet  wide  each,  and  paved  with  stone.  The 
engraving  opposite  represents  the  front  corridor,  with 
the  ceiling  rising  nearly  to  a  point,  and  covered  at  the 
top  with  a  layer  of  flat  stones.  In  several  places  on 
each  side  are  holes,  which  are  found  also  in  all  the 
other  corridors;  they  were  probably  used  to  support 
poles  for  scaffolding  while  the  building  was  in  process 
of  erection,  and  had  never  been  filled  up.  At  the  ex- 
treme end,  cut  through  the  wall,  is  one  of  the  windows 
before  referred  to,  which  have  been  the  subject  of  spec- 
ulation from  analogy  to  the  letter  Tau. 

The  back  corridor  is  divided  into  three  apartments. 
In  the  centre,  facing  the  principal  door  of  entrance,  is 
an  enclosed  chamber  similar  to  that  which  in  the  last 
building  we  have  called  an  oratory  or  altar.  Its 
shadow  is  seen  in  the  engraving.  The  top  of  the 
doorway  was  gorgeous  with  stuccoed  ornaments,  and 
on  the  piers  at  each  side  were  stone  tablets  in  bas-re- 
lief. Within,  the  chamber  was  four  feet  seven  inches 
deep  and  nine  feet  wide.  There  were  no  stuccoed 
ornaments  or  paintings,  but  set  in  the  back  wall  was  a 
stone  tablet  covering  the  whole  width  of  the  chamber, 
nine  feet  wide  and  eight  feet  high. 

The  tablet  is  given  in  the  frontispiece  of  this  volume, 
and  I  beg  to  call  to  it  the  particular  attention  of  the 
reader,  as  the  most  perfect  and  most  interesting  monu- 
ment in  Palenque.  Neither  Del  Rio  nor  Dupaix  has 
given  any  drawing  of  it,  and  it  is  now  for  the  first  time 
presented  to  the  public.  It  is  composed  of  three  separ- 
ate stones,  the  joints  in  which  are  shown  by  the  blurred 
lines  in  the  engraving.  The  sculpture  is  perfect,  and 
the  characters  and  figures  stand  clear  and  distinct  on 
the  stone.  On  each  side  are  rows  of  hieroglyphics. 



The  principal  personages  will  be  recognised  at  once  as 
the  same  who  are  represented  in  the  tablet  of  the  cross. 
They  wear  the  same  dress,  but  here  both  seem  to  be 
making  offerings.  Both  personages  stand  on  the  backs 
of  human  beings,  one  of  whom  supports  himself  by  his 
hands  and  knees,  and  the  other  seems  crushed  to  the 
ground  by  the  weight.  Between  them,  at  the  foot  of 
the  tablet,  are  two  figures,  sitting  cross-legged,  one  bra- 
cing himself  with  his  right  hand  on  the  ground,  and  with 
the  left  supporting  a  square  table ;  the  attitude  and  ac- 
tion of  the  other  are  the  same,  except  that  they  are  in 
reverse  order.  The  table  also  rests  upon  their  bended 
necks,  and  their  distorted  countenances  may  perhaps  be 
considered  expressions  of  pain  and  suffering.  They  are 
both  clothed  in  leopard-skins.  Upon  this  table  rest  two 
batons  crossed,  their  upper  extremities  richly  ornament- 
ed, and  supporting  what  seems  a  hideous  mask,  the  eyes 
widely  expanded,  and  the  tongue  hanging  out.  This 
seems  to  be  the  object  to  which  the  principal  personages 
are  making  offerings. 

The  pier  on  each  side  of  the  doorway  contained  a 
stone  tablet,  with  figures  carved  in  bas-relief,  which  are 
represented  in  the  two  following  engravings.  These 
tablets,  however,  have  been  removed  from  their  place 
to  the  village,  and  set  up  in  the  wall  of  a  house  as  or- 
naments. They  were  the  first  objects  which  we  saw, 
and  the  last  which  Mr.  Catherwood  drew.  The  house 
belonged  to  two  sisters,  who  have  an  exaggerated  idea 
of  the  value  of  these  tablets  ;  and,  though  always  pleas- 
ed with  our  coming  to  see  them,  made  objections  to 
having  them  copied.  "We  obtained  permission  only  by 
promising  a  copy  for  them  also,  which,  however,  Mr. 
Catherwood,  worn  out  with  constant  labour,  was  entire- 
ly unable  to  make.  I  cut  out  of  Del  Rio's  book  the 

lielief  on  ;',  ar.  ' 

relief  on   side   of  Door   of  Alta 

TAStST*     AND     F  1C  OKI  8. 

drawings  of  the  earn 

printed,,  would  ploausr  t-hrm  better  ;  bin  they  h 

rogren^  mad 

were  not  •-,•  all  $au-i  -.     The  rn«>- 

men  /".I  {he  idea  of  |ntrcbu» 

ing  them  an  home  as  a  e- 


the  right  hand,  iron*  tose  and 

eyes  are  strongly  marked,  but  altogether  the  dev. 

re  a  race  entirely  dif- 
headdreM  in 

the  • 

bird,  and  a  tortoi 

the  ii:  and  u>*< 

The  at  c-fi^ 

tor.  has       - 




reeating  posi 
'Js  of  these  mys- 

teri.  tiage*  to.  •  roglyphica. 


TABLETS     AND     FIGURES.  353 

drawings  of  the  same  subjects,  which  I  thought,  being 
printed,  would  please  them  better  ;  but  they  had  exam- 
ined Mr.  Catherwood's  drawing  in  its  progress,  and 
were  not  at  all  satisfied  with  the  substitute.  The  mo- 
ment I  saw  these  tablets  I  formed  the  idea  of  purchas* 
ing  them  and  carrying  them  home  as  a  sample  of  Pa- 
lenque,  but  it  was  some  time  before  I  ventured  to  broach 
the  subject.  They  could  not  be  purchased  without  the 
house ;  but  that  was  no  impediment,  for  I  liked  the 
house  also.  It  was  afterward  included  among  the  sub- 
jects of  other  negotiations  which  were  undetermined 
when  I  left  Palenque. 

The  two  figures  stand  facing  each  other,  the  first  on 
the  right  hand,  fronting  the  spectator.  The  nose  and 
eyes  are  strongly  marked,  but  altogether  the  develop- 
ment is  not  so  strange  as  to  indicate  a  race  entirely  dif- 
ferent from  those  which  are  known.  The  headdress  is 
curious  and  complicated,  consisting  principally  of  leaves 
of  plants,  with  a  large  flo\ter  hanging  down  ;  and  among 
the  ornaments  are  distinguished  the  beak  and  eyes  of  a 
bird,  and  a  tortoise.  The  cloak  is  a  leopard's  skin,  and 
the  figure  has  ruffles  around  the  wrists  and  ancles. 

The  second  figure,  standing  on  the  left  of  the  specta- 
tor, has  the  same  profile  which  characterizes  all  the 
others  at  Palenque.  Its  headdress  is  composed  of  a 
plume  of  feathers,  in  which  is  a  bird  holding  a  fish 
in  its  mouth;  and  in  different  parts  of  the  headdress 
there  are  three  other  fishes.  The  figure  wears  a  richly- 
embroidered  tippet,  and  a  broad  girdle,  with  the  head 
of  some  animal  in  front,  sandals,  and  leggins  :  the  right 
hand  is  extended  in  a  prayerful  or  deprecating  position, 
with  the  palm  outward.  Over  the  heads  of  these  mys- 
terious personages  are  three  cabalistic  hieroglyphics. 

We  considered  the  oratorio  or  altar  the  most  interest- 

VOL.  II.— Y  Y 

354  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

ing  portion  of  the  ruins  of  Palenque  ;  and  in  order  that 
the  reader  may  understand  it  in  all  its  details,  the  plate 
opposite  is  presented,  which  shows  distinctly  all  the  com- 
binations of  the  doorway,  with  its  broken  ornaments,  the 
tablets  on  each  side ;  and  within  the  doorway  is  seen 
the  large  tablet  on  the  back  of  the  inner  wall.  The 
reader  will  form  from  it  some  idea  of  the  whole,  and  of 
its  effect  upon  the  stranger,  when,  as  he  climbs  up  the 
ruined  pyramidal  structure,  on  the  threshold  of  the  door 
this  scene  presents  itself.  We  could  not  but  regard  it 
as  a  holy  place,  dedicated  to  the  gods,  and  consecrated 
by  the  religious  observances  of  a  lost  and  unknown 
people.  Comparatively,  the  hand  of  ruin  has  spared  it, 
and  the  great  tablet,  surviving  the  wreck  of  elements, 
stands  perfect  and  entire.  Lonely,  deserted,  and  with- 
out any  worshippers  at  its  shrine,  the  figures  and  char- 
acters are  distinct  as  when  the  people  who  reared  it 
went  up  to  pay  their  adorations  before  it.  To  us  it  was 
all  a  mystery ;  silent,  defying  the  most  scrutinizing  gaze 
and  reach  of  intellect.  Even  our  friends  the  padres 
could  make  nothing  of  it. 

Near  this,  on  the  top  of  another  pyramidal  structure, 
was  another  building  entirely  in  ruins,  which  apparently 
had  been  shattered  and  hurled  down  by  an  earthquake. 
The  stones  were  strewed  on  the  side  of  the  pyramid, 
and  it  was  impossible  even  to  make  out  the  ground- 

Returning  to  No.  1  and  proceeding  south,  at  a  dis- 
tance of  fifteen  hundred  feet,  and  on  a  pyramidal  struc- 
ture one  hundred  feet  high  from  the  bank  of  the  river, 
is  another  building,  marked  on  the  plan  No.  4,  twenty 
feet  front  and  eighteen  feet  deep,  but  in  an  unfortunate- 
ly ruined  condition.  The  whole  of  the  front  wall  has 
fallen,  leaving  the  outer  corridor  entirely  exposed. 

EXTENT     OF     THE     RUINS.  355 

Fronting  the  door,  and  against  the  back  wall  of  the 
inner  corridor,  was  a  large  stucco  ornament  represent- 
ing a  figure  sitting  on  a  couch ;  but  a  great  part  has 
fallen  or  been  taken  off  and  carried  away.  The  body 
of  the  couch,  with  tiger's  feet,  is  all  that  now  remains. 
The  outline  of  two  tigers'  heads  and  of  the  sitting  per- 
sonage is  seen  on  the  wall.  The  loss  or  destruction  of 
this  ornament  is  more  to  be  regretted,  as  from  what  re- 
mains it  appears  to  have  been  superior  in  execution  to 
any  other  stucco  relief  in  Palenque.  The  body  of  the 
couch  is  entire,  and  the  leg  and  foot  hanging  down  the 
side  are  elegant  specimens  of  art  and  models  for  study. 
The  plate  opposite  represents  this  relief,  and  also  a 
plan,  section,  and  general  view  of  the  building. 

I  have  now  given,  without  speculation  or  comment, 
a  full  description  of  the  ruins  of  Palenque.  I  repeat 
what  I  stated  in  the  beginning,  there  may  be  more 
buildings,  but,  after  a  close  examination  of  the  vague 
reports  current  in  the  village,  we  are  satisfied  that  no 
more  have  ever  been  discovered  ;  and  from  repeated  in- 
quries  of  Indians  who  had  traversed  the  forest  in  every 
direction  in  the  dry  season,  we  are  induced  to  believe 
that  no  more  exist.  The  whole  extent  of  ground  cov- 
ered by  those  as  yet  known,  as  appears  by  the  plan,  is 
not  larger  than  our  Park  or  Battery.  In  stating  this 
fact  I  am  very  far  from  wishing  to  detract  from  the  im- 
portance or  interest  of  the  subject.  I  give  our  opinion, 
with  the  grounds  of  it,  and  the  reader  will  judge  for 
himself  how  far  these  are  entitled  to  consideration. 
It  is  proper  to  add,  however,  that,  considering  the  space 
now  occupied  by  the  ruins  as  the  site  of  palaces,  tem- 
ples, and  public  buildings,  and  supposing  the  houses  of 
the  inhabitants  to  have  been,  like  those  of  the  Egyptians 
and  the  present  race  of  Indians,  of  frail  and  perishable 



Departure  from  the  Ruins.— Bad  Road.— An  Accident.— Arrival  at  the  Village. 
— A  Funeral  Procession.— Negotiations  for  Purchasing  Palenque. — Making 
Casts. — Final  Departure  from  Palenque. — Beautiful  Plain.— Hanging  Birds'- 
nests. — A  Sitio. — Adventure  with  a  monstrous  Ape. — Hospitality  of  Padres. — 
Las  Playas. — A  Tempest. — Moschetoes. — A  Youthful  Merchant. — Alligators. 
— Another  Funeral. — Disgusting  Ceremonials. 

AMONG  the  Indians  who  came  out  to  escort  us  to  the 
village  was  one  whom  we  had  not  seen  before,  and 
whose  face  bore  a  striking  resemblance  to  those  de- 
lineated on  the  walls  of  the  buildings.  In  general  the 
faces  of  the  Indians  were  of  an  entirely  different  char- 
acter, but  he  might  have  been  taken  for  a  lineal  de- 
scendant of  the  perished  race.  The  resemblance  was 
perhaps  purely  accidental,  but  we  were  anxious  to  pro- 
cure his  portrait.  He  was,  however,  very  shy,  and  un- 
willing to  be  drawn.  Mr.  Catherwood,  too,  was  worn 
out,  and  in  the  confusion  of  removing  we  postponed  it 
upon  his  promising  to  come  to  us  at  the  village,  but 
we  could  not  get  hold  of  him  again. 

We  left  behind  our  kitchen  furniture,  consisting  of 
the  three  stones  which  Juan  put  together  the  first  day 
of  our  residence,  vessels  of  pottery  and  calabashes,  and 
also  our  beds,  for  the  benefit  of  the  next  comer.  Ev- 
erything susceptible  of  injury  from  damp  was  rusty  or 
mouldy,  and  in  a  ruinous  condition ;  we  ourselves 
were  not  much  better ;  and  with  the  clothes  on  our 
backs  far  from  dry,  we  bade  farewell  to  the  ruins.  We 
were  happy  when  we  reached  them,  but  our  joy  at 
leaving  them  burst  the  bounds  of  discretion,  and  broke 
out  into  extravagances  poetical,  which,  however,  fortu- 

AN     ACCIDENT     ON     THE     ROAD.  359 

nately  for  the  reader,  did  not  advance  much  beyond 
the  first  line : 

"  Adios,  Las  Casas  de  Piedra." 

The  road  was  worse  than  at  any  time  before;  the 
streams  were  swollen  into  rivers,  and  along  the  banks 
were  steep,  narrow  gullies,  very  difficult  to  pass.  At 
one  of  these,  after  attempting  to  ascend  with  my  macho, 
I  dismounted.  Mr.  Catherwood  was  so  weak  that  he 
remained  on  the  back  of  his  mule;  and  after  he  had 
crossed,  just  as  he  reached  the  top,  the  mule's  strength 
gave  way,  and  she  fell  backward,  rolling  over  in  the 
stream  with  Mr.  Catherwood  entirely  under.  Pawling 
was  behind,  and  at  that  time  in  the  stream.  He  sprang 
off  and  extricated  Mr.  Catherwood,  unhurt,  but  very 
faint,  and,  as  he  was  obliged  to  ride  in  his  wet  clothes, 
we  had  great  apprehensions  for  him.  At  length  we 
reached  the  village,  when,  exhausted  by  hard  and  unin- 
termitted  labour,  he  gave  up  completely,  and  took  to 
bed  and  the  medicine-chest.  In  the  evening  nearly  all 
my  friends  of  the  dinner-party  came  to  see  us.  That 
one  day  had  established  an  intimacy.  All  regretted  that 
we  had  had  such  an  unfortunate  time  at  the  ruins,  won- 
dered how  we  had  lived  through  it,  and  were  most  kind 
in  offers  of  services.  The  padre  remained  after  the 
rest,  and  went  home  with  a  lantern  in  the  midst  of  one 
of  those  dreadful  storms  which  had  almost  terrified  us 
at  the  ruins. 

The  next  day  again  was  Sunday.  It  was  my  third 
Sunday  in  the  village,  and  again  it  was  emphatically  a 
day  of  rest.  In  the  afternoon  a  mournful  interruption 
was  given  to  the  stillness  of  the  place  by  the  funeral  of 
a  young  Indian  girl,  once  the  pride  and  beauty  of  the 
village,  whose  portrait  Mr.  Waldeck  had  taken  to  em- 


hellish  his  intended  work  on  Palenque.  Her  career,  a* 
often  happens  with  beauty  in  higher  life,  was  short,  brill- 
iant, and  unhappy.  She  had  married  a  young  Indian, 
who  abandoned  her  and  went  to  another  village.  Ig- 
norant, innocent,  and  unconscious  of  wrong,  she  was 
persuaded  to  marry  another,  drooped,  and  died.  The 
funeral  procession  passed  our  door.  The  corpse  was 
borne  on  a  rude  bier,  without  coffin,  in  a  white  cotton 
dress,  with  a  shawl  over  the  head,  and  followed  by  a 
slender  procession  of  women  and  children  only.  I 
walked  beside  it,  and  heard  one  of  them  say,  "  bueno 
Christiano,  to  attend  the  funeral  of  a  poor  woman." 
The  bier  was  set  down  beside  the  grave,  and  in  lifting 
the  body  from  it  the  head  turned  on  one  side,  and  the 
hands  dropped ;  the  grave  was  too  short,  and  as  the 
dead  was  laid  wkhin  the  legs  were  drawn  up.  Her 
face  was  thin  and  wasted,  but  the  mouth  had  a  sweet- 
ness of  expression  which  seemed  to  express  that  she 
had  died  with  a  smile  of  forgiveness  for  him  who  had 
injured  her.  I  could  not  turn  my  eyes  from  her  placid 
but  grief-worn  countenance,  and  so  touching  was  its 
expression  that  I  could  almost  have  shed  tears.  Young, 
beautiful,  simple,  and  innocent,  abandoned  and  dead, 
with  not  a  mourner  at  her  grave.  All  seemed  to  think 
that  she  was  better  dead ;  she  was  poor,  and  could  not 
maintain  herself.  The  men  went  away,  and  the  women 
and  children  with  their  hands  scraped  the  earth  upon 
the  body.  It  was  covered  up  gradually  and  slowly; 
the  feet  stuck  out,  and  then  all  was  buried  but  the  face. 
A  small  piece  of  muddy  earth  fell  upon  one  of  the  eyes, 
and  another  on  her  sweetly  smiling  mouth,  changing 
the  whole  expression  in  a  moment ;  death  was  now 
robed  with  terror.  The  women  stopped  to  comment 
upon  the  change ;  the  dirt  fell  so  as  to  cover  the  whole 


face  except  the  nose,  and  for  two  or  three  moments 
this  alone  was  visible.  Another  brush  covered  this, 
and  the  girl  was  buried.  The  reader  will  excuse  me. 
I  am  sorry  to  say  that  if  she  had  been  ugly,  I  should, 
perhaps,  have  regarded  it  as  an  e very-day  case  of  a  wife 
neglected  by  her  husband  ;  but  her  sweet  face  speaking 
from  the  grave  created  an  impression  which  even  yet  is 
hardly  effaced. 

But  to  return  to  things  more  in  my  line.  We  had 
another  long  journey  before  us.  Our  next  move  was 
for  Yucatan.  From  Mr.  Catherwood's  condition  I  had 
great  fear  that  we  would  not  be  able  to  accomplish  what 
we  purposed ;  but,  at  all  events,  it  was  necessary  to  go 
down  to  the  seacoast.  There  were  two  routes,  either 
by  Tobasco  or  the  Laguna,  to  Campeachy,  and  war 
again  confronted  us.  Both  Tobasco  and  Campeachy 
were  besieged  by  the  Liberals,  or,  as  they  were  called, 
the  Revolutionists.  The  former  route  required  three 
days'  journey  by  land,  the  latter  one  short  day ;  and  as 
Mr.  C.  was  not  able  to  ride,  this  determined  us.  In  the 
mean  time,  while  waiting  for  his  recovery,  and  so  as  not 
to  rust  and  be  utterly  useless  when  I  returned  home,  I 
started  another  operation,  viz.,  the  purchase  of  the 
city  of  Palenque.  I  am  bound  to  say,  however,  that  I 
was  not  bold  enough  to  originate  this,  but  fell  into  it  'ac- 
cidentally, in  a  long  conversation  with  the  prefect  about 
the  richness  of  the  soil,  the  cheapness  of  land,  its  vicin- 
ity to  the  seaboard  and  the  United  States,  and  easy 
communication  with  New- York.  He  told  me  that  a 
merchant  of  Tobasco,  who  had  visited  the  place,  had 
proposed  to  purchase  a  tract  of  land  and  establish  a  col- 
ony of  emigrants,  but  he  had  gone  away  and  never  re- 
turned. He  added,  that  for  two  years  a  government 
order  from  the  State  of  Chiapas,  to  which  the  region 
VOL.  II.— Z  z 


ins.  In  that  country  they  were  not  appreciated  or  un- 
derstood, and  he  had  the  liberal  wish  that  the  tablets 
of  hieroglyphics  particularly  might  find  their  way  to 
other  countries,  be  inspected  and  studied  by  scientific 
men,  and  their  origin  and  history  be  ascertained.  Be- 
sides, he  had  an  idea  that  immense  discoveries  were  still 
to  be  made  and  treasures  found,  and  he  was  anxious 
for  a  thorough  exploration,  in  which  he  should  himself 
co-operate.  The  two  tablets  which  I  had  attempted  to 
purchase  were  highly  prized  by  the  owners,  but  he 
thought  they  could  be  secured  by  purchasing  the  house, 
and  I  authorized  him  to  buy  it  at  a  fixed  price. 

In  my  many  conversations  with  the  prefect  I  had 
broached  the  subject  of  making  casts  from  the  tablets. 
Like  every  other  official  whom  I  met,  he  supposed  that 
I  was  acting  under  a  commission  from  my  government, 
which  idea  was  sustained  by  having  in  my  employ  a  man 
of  such  character  and  appearance  as  Pawling,  though 
every  time  I  put  my  hand  in  my  pocket  I  had  a  feeling 
sense  that  the  case  was  far  otherwise.  In  the  matter  of 
casts  he  offered  every  assistance,  but  there  was  no  plas- 
ter of  Paris  nearer  than  the  Laguna  or  Campeachy,  and 
perhaps  not  there.  We  had  made  an  experiment  at  the 
ruins  by  catching  in  the  river  a  large  quantity  of  snails 
and  burning  the  shells,  but  it  did  not  answer.  He  re- 
ferred us  to  some  limestone  in  the  neighbourhood,  but 
this  would  not  do.  Pawling  knew  nothing  of  casting. 
The  idea  had  never  entered  his  mind  before,  but  he 
was  willing  to  undertake  this.  Mr.  Catherwood,  who 
had  been  shut  up  in  Athens  during  the  Greek  Revolu- 
tion, when  it  was  besieged  by  the  Turks,  and  in  pursu- 
ing his  artistical  studies  had  perforce  made  castings 
with  his  own  hands,  gave  him  written  instructions,  and 
it  was  agreed  that  when  he  returned  with  the  creden- 


tials  from  Mr.  Russell  he  should  bring  back  plaster  of 
Paris,  and,  while  the  proceedings  for  completing  the 
purchase  were  pending,  should  occupy  himself  in  this 
new  branch  of  business. 

On  the  fourth  of  June  we  took  our  final  departure 
from  Palenque.  Don  Santiago  sent  me  a  farewell  let- 
ter, enclosing,  according  to  the  custom  of  the  country, 
a  piece  of  silk,  the  meaning  of  which  I  did  not  un- 
derstand, but  learned  that  it  was  meant  as  a  pledge  of 
friendship,  which  I  reciprocated  with  a  penknife.  The 
prefect  was  kind  and  courteous  to  the  last ;  even  the  old 
alcalde,  drawing  a  little  daily  revenue  from  us,  was 
touched.  Every  male  inhabitant  came  to  the  house  to 
bid  us  farewell  and  wish  us  to  return ;  and  before  start- 
ing we  rode  round  and  exchanged  adios  with  all  their 
wives:  good,  kind,  and  quiet  people,  free  from  all  agi- 
tating cares,  and  aiming  only  at  an  undisturbed  exist- 
ence in  a  place  which  I  had  been  induced  to  believe 
the  abode  of  savages  and  full  of  danger. 

In  order  to  accompany  us,  the  cura  had  postponed 
for  two  days  a  visit  to  his  hacienda,  which  lay  on  our 
road.  Pawling  continued  with  us  for  the  purpose  be- 
fore mentioned,  and  Juan  according  to  contract.  I  had 
agreed  to  return  him  to  Guatimala.  Completely  among 
strangers,  he  was  absolutely  in  our  power,  and  follow- 
ed blindly,  but  with  great  misgivings  asked  the  padre 
where 'we  were  taking  him.  His  impression  was  that 
he  was  setting  out  for  my  country,  and  he  had  but  little 
hope  of  ever  seeing  Guatimala  again. 

From  the  village  we  entered  immediately  upon  a 
beautiful  plain,  picturesque,  ornamented  with  trees,  and 
extending  five  or  six  days'  journey  to  the  Gulf  of  Mex- 
ico. The  road  was  very  muddy,  but,  open  to  the  sun 
in  the  morning,  was  not  so  bad  as  we  feared.  On  the 


borders  of  a  piece  of  woodland  were  singular  trees, 
with  a  tall  trunk,  the  bark  very  smooth,  and  the  branch- 
es festooned  with  hanging  birds' -nests.  The  bird  was 
called  the  jagua,  and  built  in  this  tree,  as  the  padre  told 
us,  to  prevent  serpents  from  getting  at  the  young.  The 
cura,  notwithstanding  his  strange  figure,  and  a  life  of 
incident  and  danger,  was  almost  a  woman  in  voice, 
manner,  tastes,  and  feelings.  He  had  been  educated 
at  the  capital,  and  sent  as  a  penance  to  this  retired  cu- 
racy. The  visit  of  the  padres  had  for  the  first  time 
broken  the  monotony  of  his  life.  In  the  political  con- 
vulsions of  the  capital  he  had  made  himself  obnoxious 
to  the  church  government  by  his  liberal  opinions  ;  but 
unable,  as  he  said,  to  find  in  him  any  tangible  offence, 
his  superiors  had  called  him  up  on  a  charge  of  polluting 
the  surplice,  founded  on  the  circumstance  that,  in  the 
time  of  the  cholera,  when  his  fellow-creatures  were  ly- 
ing all  around  him  in  the  agonies  of  death,  in  leaning 
over  their  bodies  to  administer  the  sacrament,  his  sur- 
plice had  been  soiled  by  saliva  from  the  mouth  of  a 
dying  man.  For  this  he  was  condemned  to  penance 
and  prayers,  from  midnight  till  daybreak,  for  two  years 
in  the  Cathedral,  deprived  of  a  good  curacy,  and  sent  to 

At  half  past  two  we  reached  his  sitio  or  small  haci- 
enda. In  the  apprehension  of  the  afternoon's  rain,  we 
would  have  continued  to  the  end  of  our  afternoon's 
journey ;  but  the  padre  watched  carefully  the  appear- 
ance of  the  sky,  and,  after  satisfying  himself  that  the 
rain  would  not  come  on  till  late,  positively  forbade  our 
passing  on.  His  sitio  was  what  would  be  called  at 
home  a  "  new"  place,  being  a  tract  of  wild  land  of  I  do 
not  know  what  extent,  but  some  large  quantity,  which 
had  cost  him  twenty-five  dollars,  and  about  as  much 

ADVENTURE     WITH     AN     APE.  367 

more  to  make  the  improvements,  which  consisted  of  a 
hut  made  of  poles  and  thatched  with  corn-husks,  and  a 
cucinera  or  kitchen  at  a  little  distance.  The  stables 
and  outhouses  were  a  clearing  bounded  by  a  forest  so 
thick  that  cattle  could  not  penetrate  it,  and  on  the  road- 
side by  a  rude  fence.  Altogether,  in  that  mild  climate 
the  effect  was  good ;  and  it  was  one  of  those  occa- 
sions which  make  a  man  feel,  away  from  the  region 
of  fictitious  wants,  how  little  is  necessary  for  the  com- 
forts of  life.  The  furniture  of  the  hut  consisted  of 
two  reed  bedsteads,  a  table,  and  a  bench,  and  in  one 
corner  was  a  pile  of  corn.  The  cura  sent  out  for  half 
a  dozen  fresh  pineapples ;  and  while  we  were  refresh- 
ing ourselves  with  them  we  heard  an  extraordinary 
noise  in  the  woods,  which  an  Indian  boy  told  us  was 
made  by  "  un  animal."  Pawling  and  I  took  our  guns, 
and  entering  a  path  in  the  woods,  as  we  advanced 
the  noise  sounded  fearful,  but  all  at  once  it  stopped. 
The  boy  opened  a  way  through  thickets  of  brush  and 
underwood,  and  through  an  opening  in  the  branches  I 
saw  on  the  limbs  of  a  high  tree  a  large  black  animal 
with  fiery  eyes.  The  boy  said  it  was  not  a  mico  or 
monkey,  and  I  supposed  it  to  be  a  catamount.  I  had 
barely  an  opening  through  which  to  take  aim,  fired,  and 
the  animal  dropped  below  the  range  of  view ;  but,  not 
hearing  him  strike  the  ground,  I  looked  again,  and  saw 
him  hanging  by  his  tail,  and  dead,  with  the  blood 
streaming  from  his  mouth.  Pawling  attempted  to  climb 
the  tree  ;  but  it  was  fifty  feet  to  the  first  branch,  and  the 
blood  trickled  down  the  trunk.  Wishing  to  examine 
the  creature  more  closely,  we  sent  the  boy  to  the  house, 
whence  he  returned  with  a  couple  of  Indians.  They 
cut  down  the  tree,  which  fell  with  a  terrible  crash,  and 
still  the  animal  hung  by  its  tail.  The  ball  had  hit  him 


in  the  mouth  and  knocked  out  the  fore  teeth,  passed 
out  at  the  top  of  his  back  between  his  shoulders,  and 
must  have  killed  him  instantly.  The  tenacity  of  his 
tail  seemed  marvellous,  but  was  easily  explained.  It 
had  no  grip,  and  had  lost  all  muscular  power,  but  was 
wound  round  the  branch  with  the  end  under,  so  that 
the  weight  of  the  body  tightened  the  coil,  and  the  hard- 
er the  strain,  the  more  secure  was  the  hold.  It  was  not 
a  monkey,  but  so  near  a  connexion  that  I  would  not 
have  shot  him  if  I  had  known  it.  In  fact,  he  was  even 
more  nearly  related  to  the  human  family,  being  called 
a  monos  or  ape,  and  measured  six  feet  including  the 
tail ;  very  muscular,  and  in  a  struggle  would  have  been 
more  than  a  match  for  a  man ;  and  the  padre  said  they 
were  known  to  have  attacked  women.  The  Indians 
carried  him  up  "to  the  house  and  skinned  him ;  and 
when  lying  on  his  back,  with  his  skin  off  and  his  eyes 
staring,  the  padre  cried  out,  "  es  hombre,"  it  is  a  man, 
and  I  almost  felt  liable  to  an  indictment  for  homicide. 
The  Indians  cooked  the  body,  and  I  contrived  to  pre- 
serve the  skin  as  a  curiosity,  for  its  extraordinary  size ; 
but,  unluckily,  I  left  it  on  board  a  Spanish  vessel  at  sea. 
In  the  mean  time  the  padre  had  a  fowl  boiled  for  din- 
ner. Three  guests  at  a  time  were  not  too  much  for 
his  open  hospitality,  but  they  went  beyond  his  dinner- 
service,  which  consisted  of  three  bowls.  There  was  no 
plate,  knife,  fork,  or  spoon,  and  for  the  cura  himself 
not  even  a  bowl.  The  fowl  was  served  in  an  ocean  of 
broth,  which  had  to  be  disposed  of  first.  Tortillas  and 
a  small  cake  of  fresh  cheese  composed  the  rest  of  the 
meal.  The  reader  will  perhaps  connect  such  an  en- 
tertainment with  vulgarity  of  manners ;  but  the  curate 
was  a  gentleman,  and  made  no  apologies,  for  he  gave 
us  the  best  he  had.  We  had  sent  our  carriers  on  be- 

LAS     PLAYAS.  369 

fore,  the  padre  gave  us  a  servant  as  a  guide,  and  at 
three  o'clock  we  bade  him  farewell.  He  was  the  last 
padre  whom  we  met,  and  put  a  seal  upon  the  kindness 
we  had  received  from  all  the  padres  of  that  country. 

At  five  o'clock,  by  a  muddy  road,  through  a  pictu- 
resque country,  remarkable  only  for  swarms  of  butterflies 
with  large  yellow  wings  which  filled  the  air,  we  reached 
Las  Playas.  This  village  is  the  head  of  navigation  of  the 
waters  that  empty  in  this  direction  into  the  Gulf  of  Mex- 
ico. The  whole  of  the  great  plain  to  the  sea  is  intersect- 
ed by  creeks  and  rivers,  some  of  them  in  the  summer  dry, 
and  on  the  rising  of  the  waters  overflowing  their  banks. 
At  this  season  the  plain  on  one  side  of  the  village  was 
inundated,  and  seemed  a  large  lake.  The  village  was 
a  small  collection  of  huts  upon  what  might  be  called  its 
banks.  It  consisted  of  one  street  or  road,  grass-grown 
and  still  as  at  Palenque,  at  the  extreme  end  of  which 
was  the  church,  under  the  pastoral  care  of  our  friend 
the  padre.  Our  guide,  according  to  the  directions  of 
the  padre,  conducted  us  to  the  convent,  and  engaged  the 
sexton  to  provide  us  with  supper.  The  convent  was 
built  of  upright  sticks,  with  a  thatched  roof,  mud  floor, 
and  furnished  with  three  reed  bedsteads  and  a  table. 

At  this  place  we  were  to  embark  in  a  canoe,  and  had 
sent  a  courier  a  day  beforehand,  with  a  letter  from  the 
prefect  to  the  justitia,  to  have  one  ready  for  us.  The 
justitia  was  a  portly  mulatto,  well  dressed,  and  very  civil, 
had  a  canoe  of  his  own,  and  promised  to  procure  us 
two  bogadores  or  rowers  in  the  morning.  Very  soon 
the  moschetoes  made  alarming  demonstrations,  and  gave 
us  apprehensions  of  a  fearful  night.  To  make  a  show 
of  resistance,  we  built  a  large  fire  in  the  middle  of  the 
convent.  At  night  the  storm  came  on  with  a  high  wind, 
which  made  it  necessary  to  close  the  doors.  For  two 

VOL.  II.— 3  A 


hours  we  had  a  tempest  of  wind  and  rain,  with  terrific 
thunder  and  lightning.  One  blast  burst  open  the  door 
and  scattered  the  fire,  so  that  it  came  very  near  burn- 
ing down  the  convent.  Between  the  smoke  and  mos- 
chetoes,  it  was  a  matter  of  debate  which  of  the  two 
to  choose,  suffocation  or  torture.  We  preferred  the 
former,  and  had  the  latter  besides,  and  passed  a  miser- 
able night. 

The  next  morning  the  justitia  came  to  say  that  the 
bogadores  were  not  ready  and  could  not  go  that  day. 
The  price  which  he  named  was  about  twice  as  much  as 
the  cura  told  us  we  ought  to  pay,  besides  possol  (balls  of 
mashed  Indian  corn),  tortillas,  honey,  and  meat.  I  re- 
monstrated, and  he  went  off  to  consult  the  mozos,  but 
returned  to  say  that  they  would  not  take  less,  and,  after 
treating  him  with»but  little  of  the  respect  due  to  office, 
I  was  obliged  to  accede ;  but  I  ought  to  add,  that 
throughout  that  country,  in  general,  prices  are  fixed, 
and  there  is  less  advantage  taken  of  the  necessity  of 
travellers  than  in  most  others.  We  were  loth  to  re- 
main, for,  besides  the  loss  of  time  and  the  moschetoes, 
the  scarcity  of  provisions  was  greater  than  at  Palenque. 

The  sexton  bought  us  some  corn,  and  his  wife  made 
us  tortillas.  The  principal  merchant  in  the  place,  or, 
at  least,  the  one  who  traded  most  largely  with  us,  was 
a  little  boy  about  twelve  years  old,  who  was  dressed  in 
a  petate  or  straw  hat.  He  had  brought  us  some  fruit, 
and  we  saw  him  coming  again  with  a  string  over  his 
naked  shoulder,  dragging  on  the  ground  what  proved 
to  be  a  large  fish.  The  principal  food  of  the  place 
was  young  alligators.  They  were  about  a  foot  and  a 
half  long,  and  at  that  youthful  time  of  life  were  con- 
sidered very  tender.  At  their  first  appearance  on  the 
table  they  had  not  an  inviting  aspect,  but  ce  n'est  que  le 


premier  pas  qui  coute,  they  tasted  better  than  the  fish, 
and  they  were  the  best  food  possible  for  our  canoe  voy- 
age, being  dried  and  capableupf  preservation. 

Go  where  we  will,  to  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth, 
we  are  sure  to  meet  one  acquaintance.  Death  is  al- 
ways with  us.  In  the  afternoon  was  the  funeral  of 
a  child.  The  procession  consisted  of  eight  or  ten 
grown  persons,  and  as  many  boys  and  girls.  The  sex- 
ton carried  the  child  in  his  arms,  dressed  in  white,  with 
a  wreath  of  flowers  around  its  head.  All  were  hud- 
dled around  the  sexton,  walking  together  ;  the  father 
and  mother  with  him ;  and  even  more  than  in  Costa 
Rica  I  remarked,  not  only  an  absence  of  solemnity,  but 
cheerfulness  and  actual  gayety,  from  the  same  happy 
conviction  that  the  child  had  gone  to  a  better  world.  I 
happened  to  be  in  the  church  as  they  approached,  more 
like  a  wedding  than  a  burial  party.  The  floor1  of  the 
church  was  earthen,  and  the  grave  was  dug  inside, 
because,  as  the  sexton  told  me,  the  father  was  rich 
and  could  afford  to  pay  for  it,  and  the  father  seemed 
pleased  and  proud  that  he  could  give  his  child  such  a 
burial-place.  The  sexton  laid  the  child  in  the  grave, 
folded  its  little  hands  across  its  breast,  placing  there  a 
small  rude  cross,  covered  it  over  with  eight  or  ten  inch- 
es of  earth,  and  then  got  into  the  grave  and  stamped  it 
down  with  his  feet.  He  then  got  out  and  threw  in 
more,  and,  going  outside  of  the  church,  brought  back  a 
pounder,  being  a  log  of  wood  about  four  feet  long  and 
ten  inches  in  diameter,  like  the  rammer  used  among 
us  by  paviors,  and  again  taking  his  place  in  the  grave, 
threw  up  the  pounder  to  the  full  swing  of  his  arm,  and 
brought  it  down  with  all  his  strength  over  the  head  of 
the  child.  My  blood  ran  cold.  As  he  threw  it  up  a 
second  time  I  caught  his  arm  and  remonstrated  with 

372  INCIDENTS     OP     TRAVEL. 

him,  but  he  said  that  they  always  did  so  with  those 
buried  inside  the  church  ;  that  the  earth  must  be  all  put 
back,  and  the  floor  of  the  church  made  even.  My  re- 
monstrances seemed  onfy^o  give  him  more  strength  and 
spirit.  The  sweat  rolled  down  his  body,  and  when 
perfectly  tired  with  pounding  he  stepped  out  of  the 
grave.  But  this  was  nothing.  More  earth  was  thrown 
in,  and  the  father  laid  down  his  hat,  stepped  into  the 
grave,  and  the  pounder  was  handed  to  him.  I  saw 
him  throw  it  up  twice  and  bring  it  down  with  a  dead, 
heavy  noise.  I  never  beheld  a  more  brutal  and  dis- 
gusting scene.  The  child's  body  must  have  been 
crushed  to  atoms. 

Toward  evening  the  moschetoes  began  their  opera- 
tions. Pawling  and  Juan  planted  sticks  in  the  ground 
outside  the  consent,  and  spread  sheets  over  them  for 
nets ;  but  the  rain  came  on  and  drove  them  within,  and 
we  passed  another  wretched  night.  It  may  be  asked 
how  the  inhabitants  live.  I  cannot  answer.  They 
seemed  to  suffer  as  much  as  we,  but  at  home  they 
could  have  conveniences  which  we  could  not  carry  in 
travelling.  Pawling  suffered  so  much,  and  heard  such 
dreadful  accounts  of  what  we  would  meet,  with  below, 
that,  in  a  spirit  of  impetuosity  and  irritation,  he  resolved 
not  to  continue  any  farther.  From  the  difficulty  and 
uncertainty  of  communications,  however,  I  strongly  api 
prehended  that  in  such  case  all  the  schemes  in  which 
he  was  concerned  must  fall  through  and  be  abandoned, 
as  I  was  not  willing  to  incur  the  expense  of  sending 
materials,  subject  to  delays  and  uncertainties,  unless  in 
special  charge,  and  once  more  he  changed  his  purpose. 

I  had  but  one  leave-taking,  and  that  was  a  trying 
one.  I  was  to  bid  farewell  to  my  noble  macho.  He 
had  carried  me  more  than  two  thousand  miles,  over  the 

FAREWELL     TO     THE     MACHO.  373 

worst  roads  that  mule  ever  travelled.  He  stood  tied 
to  the  door  of  the  convent ;  saw  the  luggage,  and  even 
his  own  saddle,  carried  away  by  hand,  and  seemed 
to  have  a  presentiment  that  something  unusual  was 
going  on.  I  had  often  been  solicited  to  sell  him,  but 
no  money  could  have  tempted  me.  He  was  in  poorer 
condition  than  when  we  reached  Palenque.  Deprived 
of  corn  and  exposed  to  the  dreadful  rains,  he  was 
worse  than  when  worked  hard  and  fed  well  every  day, 
and  in  his  drooping  state  seemed  to  reproach  me  for 
going  away  and  leaving  him  forlorn.  I  threw  my  arms 
around  his  neck ;  his  eyes  had  a  mournful  expression, 
and  at  that  moment  he  forgot  the  angry  prick  of  the 
spur.  I  laid  aside  the  memory  of  a  toss  from  his  back 
and  ineffectual  attempts  to  repeat  it,  and  we  remem- 
bered only  mutual  kind  offices  and  good-fellowship. 
Tried  and  faithful  companion,  where  are  you  now  ?  I 
left  him,  with  two  others,  tied  at  the  door  of  the  convent, 
to  be  taken  by  the  sexton  to  the  prefect  at  Palenque, 
there  to  recover  from  the  debilitating  influence  of  the 
early  rains,  and  to  roam  on  rich  pasture-grounds,  un- 
touched by  bridle  or  spur,  until  I  should  return  to 
mount  him  again. 



Embarcation. — An  inundated  Plain.— Rio  Chico. — The  Usumasinta. — Rio  Pal- 
isada.  —  Yucatan.  —  More  Revolutions.  —  Vespers.  —  Embarcation  for  the  La- 
guna. —  Shooting  Alligators.  —  Tremendous  Storm. —  Boca  Chico. —  Lake  of 
Terminos. — A  Calm,  succeeded  by  a  Tempest  — Arrival  at  the  Laguna. 

AT  seven  o'clock  we  went  down  to  the  shore  to 
embark.  The  boatmen  whom  the  justice  had  consult- 
ed, and  for  whom  he  had  been  so  tenacious,  were  his 
honour  himself  and  another  man,  who,  we  thought, 
was  hired  as  the  cheapest  help  he  could  find  in  the  vil- 
lage. The  canoe  was  about  forty  feet  long,  with  a  toldo 
or  awning  of  about  twelve  feet  at  the  stern,  and  covered 
with  matting.  All  the  space  before  this  was  required 
by  the  boatmen  to  work  the  canoe,  and,  with  all  our 
luggage  under  the  awning,  we  had  but  narrow  quarters. 
The  seeming  lake  on  which  we  started  was  merely  a 
large  inundated  plain,  covered  with  water  to  the  depth 
of  three  or  four  feet ;  and  the  justice  in  the  stern,  and 
his  assistant  before,  walking  in  the  bottom  of  the  ca- 
noe, with  poles  against  their  shoulders,  set  her  across. 
At  eight  o'clock  we  entered  a  narrow,  muddy  creek, 
not  wider  than  a  canal,  but  very  deep,  and  with  the 
current  against  us.  The  setting-pole  could  not  touch 
bottom,  but  it  was  forked  at  one  end,  and,  keeping 
close  to  the  bank,  the  bogador  or  rower  fixed  it  against 
the  branches  of  overhanging  trees  and  pushed,  while 
the  justice,  whose  pole  had  a  rude  hook,  fastened  it  to 
other  branches  forward  and  pulled.  In  this  way,  with 
no  view  but  that  of  the  wooded  banks,  we  worked 
slowly  along  the  muddy  stream.  In  turning  a  short 
bend,  suddenly  we  saw  on  the  banks  eight  or  ten  alli- 
gators, some  of  them  twenty  feet  long,  huge,  hideous 


monsters,  appropriate  inhabitants  of  such  a  stream,  and, 
considering  the  frailty  of  our  little  vessel,  not  very  at- 
tractive neighbours.  As  we  approached  they  plunged 
heavily  into  the  water,  sometimes  rose  in  the  middle  of 
the  stream,  and  swam  across  or  disappeared.  At  half 
past  twelve  we  entered  the  Rio  Chico  or  Little  River, 
varying  from  two  to  five  hundred  feet  in  width,  deep, 
muddy,  and  very  sluggish,  with  wooded  banks  of  impen- 
etrable thickness.  At  six  o'clock  we  entered  the  great 
Usumasinta,  five  or  six  hundred  yards  across,  one  of  the 
noblest  rivers  in  Central  America,  rising  among  the  moun- 
tains of  Peten,  and  emptying  into  the  Lake  of  Terminos. 

At  this  point  the  three  provinces  of  Chiapas,  Tobasco, 
and  Yucatan  meet,  and.  the  junction  of  the  waters  of 
the  Usumasinta  and  the  Rio  Chico  presents  a  singular 
spectacle.  Since  leaving  the  sheet  of  water  before  the 
Playas  we  had  been  ascending  the  stream,  but  now, 
continuing  in  the  same  direction  and  crossing  the  line 
of  junction,  we  came  from  the  ascending  current  of  the 
Rio  Chico  into  the  descending  flow  of  the  Usumasinta. 
"Working  out  into  the  middle  and  looking  back,  we  saw 
the  Usumasinta  and  Rio  Chico  coming  together,  and 
forming  an  angle  of  not  more  than  forty  degrees,  one 
running  up  and  the  other  down.  Amid  the  wildness 
and  stillness  of  the  majestic  river,  and  floating  in  a  lit- 
tle canoe,  the  effect  was  very  extraordinary;  but  the 
cause  was  obvious.  The  Usumasinta,  descending  swift- 
ly and  with  immense  force,  broke  against  a  projecting 
headland  on  the  left  of  its  course  ;  and,  while  the  main 
body  forced  its  way  past  and  hurried  on  to  the  ocean, 
part  was  turned  back  at  this  sharp  angle  with  such 
power  as  to  form  the  creeks  which  we  had  ascended, 
and  flood  the  plain  of  the  Playas. 

At  this  time,  away  from  the  wooded  banks,  with  the 

setting-poles  at  rest,  and  floating  quietly  on  the  bosom 



of  the  noble  Usumasinta,  our  situation  was  pleasant  and 
exciting.  A  strong  wind  sweeping  down  the  river 
drove  away  the  moschetoes,  and  there  were  no  gather- 
ing clouds  to  indicate  rain.  We  had  expected  to  come 
to  for  the  night,  but  the  evening  was  so  clear  that  we 
determined  to  continue.  Unfortunately,  we  were  obli- 
ged to  leave  the  Usumasinta,  and,  about  an  hour  after 
dark,  turned  to  the  north  into  the  Rio  Palisada.  The 
whole  great  plain  from  Palenque  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico 
is  broken  by  creeks  and  streams.  The  Usumasinta  in 
its  stately  course  receives  many,  and  sends  off  others  to 
find  their  way  by  other  channels  to  the  sea. 

Leaving  the  broad  expanse  of  the  Usumasinta,  with 
its  comparative  light,  the  Rio  Palisada,  narrow,  and  with 
a  dark  line  of  forest  on  each  side,  had  an  aspect 
fearfully  ominous'of  moschetoes.  Unfortunately,  at  the 
very  beginning  we  brushed  against  the  bank,  and  took 
on  board  enough  to  show  us  the  bloodthirsty  character  of 
the  natives.  Of  course  that  night  afforded  us  little  sleep. 

At  daylight  we  were  still  dropping  down  the  river. 
This  was  the  region  of  the  great  logwood  country.  We 
met  a  large  bungo  with  two  masts  moving  against  the 
stream,  set  up  by  hauling  and  pushing  on  the  branch- 
es of  trees,  on  her  way  for  a  cargo.  As  we  advanced, 
the  banks  of  the  river  in  some  places  were  cleared  and 
cultivated,  and  had  whitewashed  houses,  and  small  su- 
gar-mills turned  by  oxen,  and  canoes  were  lying  on  the 
water ;  altogether  the  scene  was  pretty,  but  with  the 
richness  of  the  soil  suggesting  the  idea  how  beautiful 
this  country  might  be  made. 

At  two  o'clock  we  reached  the  Palisada,  situated  on 
the  left  bank  of  the  river,  on  a  luxuriant  plain  elevated 
some  fifteen  or  twenty  feet.  Several  bungoes  lay  along 
the  bank,  and  in  front  was  a  long  street,  with  large  and 
well-built  houses.  This,  our  first  point,  was  in  the 


State  of  Yucatan,  then  in  revolution  against  the  gov- 
ernment of  Mexico.  Our  descent  of  the  river  had  been 
watched  from  the  bank,  and  before  we  landed  we  were 
hailed,  asked  for  our  passports,  and  directed  to  present 
ourselves  immediately  to  the  alcalde.  The  intimation  was 
peremptory,  and  we  proceeded  forthwith  to  the  alcalde. 
Don  Francisco  Hebreu  was  superior  to  any  man  I  had 
yet  found  at  the  head  of  a  municipality  ;  in  fact,  he  was 
chief  of  the  Liberal  party  in  that  section  of  the  state, 
and,  like  all  the  other  officials  in  the  Mexican  provin- 
ces, received  us  with  the  respect  due  to  an  official 
passport  of  a  friendly  nation.  We  were  again  in  the 
midst  of  a  revolution,  but  had  not  the  remotest  idea 
what  it  was  about.  We  were  most  intimately  acquaint- 
ed with  Central  American  politics,  but  this  was  of  no 
more  use  to  us  than  a  knowledge  of  Texan  politics 
would  be  to  a  stranger  in  the  United  States.  For  sev- 
eral months  the  names  of  Morazan  and  Carrera  had 
rung  in  our  ears  like  those  of  our  own  candidates  for  the 
presidency  at  a  contested  election ;  but  we  had  passed 
the  limits  of  their  world,  and  were  obliged  to  begin  anew. 

For  eight  years  the  Central  party  had  maintained  the 
ascendancy  in  Mexico,  during  which  time,  as  a  mark 
of  the  sympathy  between  neighbouring  people,  the  Lib- 
eral or  Democratic  party  had  been  ascendant  in  Cen- 
tral America.  Within  the  last  six  months  the  Central- 
ists had  overturned  the  Liberals  in  Central  America, 
and  during  the  same  time  the  Liberalists  had  almost 
driven  out  the  Centralists  in  Mexico.  Along  the  whole 
coast,  of  the  Pacific  the  Liberals  were  in  arms,  waging 
a  strong  revolutionary  war,  and  threatening  the  capital, 
which  they  afterward  entered,  but,  after  great  massacre 
and  bloodshed,  were  expelled.  On  the  Atlantic  side, 
the  states  of  Tobasco  and  Yucatan  had  declared  their 

VOL.  II.— 3  B 


independence  of  the  general  government,  and  in  the 
interior  of  both  states  the  officials  of  the  Central  gov- 
ernment had  been  driven  out.  The  seaports  of  Tobas- 
co  and  Campeachy,  garrisoned  by  Central  trdops,  still 
held  out,  but  they  were  at  that  time  blockaded  and  be- 
sieged on  land  by  the  Federal  forces.  All  communi- 
cations by  sea  and  land  were  cut  off,  their  supplies 
were  short,  and  Don  Francisco  thought  they  would 
soon  be  obliged  by  starvation  to  surrender. 

The  revolution  seemed  of  a  higher  tone,  for  greater 
cause,  and  conducted  with  more  moderation  than  in 
Central  America.  The  grounds  of  revolt  here  were 
the  despotism  of  the  Central  government,  which,  far 
removed  by  position,  and  ignorant  of  the  condition  and 
resources  of  the  country,  used  its  distant  provinces  as  a 
quartering  place  for  rapacious  officers,  and  a  source  of 
revenue  for  money  to  be  squandered  in  the  capital. 
One  little  circumstance  showed  the  impolicy  and  ineffi- 
ciency of  the  laws.  On  account  of  high  duties,  smug- 
gling was  carried  to  such  an  extent  on  the  coast  that 
many  articles  were  regularly  sold  at  the  Palisada  for 
much  less  than  the  duties. 

The  revolution,  like  all  others  in  that  country,  began 
with  pronunciamentos,  i.  e.,  declarations  of  the  munici- 
pality, or  what  we  would  call  the  corporation  of  a 
town,  in  favour  of  any  particular  party.  The  Palisada 
had  made  ijs  pronunciamento  but  two  weeks  before,  the 
Central  officers  had  been  turned  out,  and  the  present 
alcalde  was  hardly  warm  in  his  place.  The  change, 
however,  had  been  effected  with  a  spirit  of  moderation 
and  forbearance,  and  without  bloodshed.  Don  Fran- 
cisco, with  a  liberality  unusual,  spoke  of  his  immediate 
predecessor  as  an  upright  but  misguided  man,  who  was 
not  persecuted,  but  then  living  in  the  place  unmolested. 

A    RICH     PROPRIETOR.  379 

The  Liberals,  however,  did  not  expect  the  same  treat- 
ment at  the  hands  of  the  Centralists.  An  invasion 
had  been  apprehended  from  Tobasco.  Don  Francisco 
had  his  silver  and  valuables  packed  up,  and  kept  his 
bungo  before  the  door  to  save  his  effects  and  family, 
and  the  place  was  alive  with  patriots  brushing  up  arms 
and  preparing  for  war. 

Don  Francisco  was  a  rich  man ;  had  a  hacienda  of 
thirty  thousand  head  of  cattle,  logwood  plantations  and 
bungoes,  and  was  rated  at  two  hundred  thousand  dol- 
lars. The  house  in  which  he  lived  was  on  the  bank  of 
the  river,  newly  built,  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  front, 
and  had  cost  him  twenty  thousand  dollars.  While  we 
were  with  him  dinner  was  about  being  served,  in  a  lib- 
eral style  of  housekeeping  unusual  in  that  country,  and, 
with  the  freedom  of  a  man  who  felt  sure  that  he  could 
not  be  taken  unaware,  he  asked  us  to  join  him  at  ta- 
ble. In  all  his  domestic  relations  he  was  like  the  re- 
spectable head  of  a  family  at  home.  He  had  two  sons, 
whom  he  intended  to  send  to  the  United  States  to  be 
educated ;  and  minor  things,  too,  called  up  home  feel- 
ings. For  the  first  time  in  a  long  while  we  had  bread, 
made  of  flour  from  New- York,  and  the  barrel-head  had 
a  Rochester  brand.  Don  Francisco  had  never  trav- 
elled farther  than  Tobasco  and  Campeachy,  but  he 
was  well  acquainted  with  Europe  and  the  United  States, 
geographically  and  politically;  indeed,  he  was  one  of 
the  most  agreeable  companions  and  best-informed  men 
we  met  in  that  country.  We  remained  with  him 
all  the  afternoon,  and  toward  evening  moved  our  chairs 
outside  in  front  of  the  house,  which  at  evening  was  the 
regular  gathering-place  of  the  family.  The  bank  of  the 
river  was  a  promenade  for  the  people  of  the  town, 
who  stopped  to  exchange  greetings  with  Don  Fran- 

380  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

cisco  and  his  wife  ;  a  vacant  chair  was  always  at  hand, 
and  from  time  to  time  one  took  a  seat  with  us.  When 
the  vesper  bell  struck  conversation  ceased,  all  rose  from 
their  seats,  made  a  short  prayer,  and  when  it  was  over 
turned  to  each  other  with  a  buenos  noces,  reseated 
themselves,  and  renewed  the  conversation.  There  was 
always  something  imposing  in  the  sound  of  the  vesper 
bell,  presenting  the  idea  of  an  immense  multitude  of 
people  at  the  same  moment  offering  up  a  prayer. 

During  the  evening  a  courier  arrived  with  despatches 
for  Don  Francisco,  advising  him  that  a  town  which  had 
"  pronounced"  in  favour  of  the  Liberals  had  pronounced 
back  again,  which  seemed  to  give  both  him  and  his 
wife  much  uneasiness.  At  ten  o'clock  an  armed  pa- 
trol came  for  orders,  and  we  retired  to  what  we  much 
needed,  a  good  night's  rest. 

In  the  morning  Don  Francisco,  half  in  jest  and 
half  in  earnest,  told  us  of  the  uneasiness  we  had  giv- 
en his  wife.  Pawling' s  Spanish,  and  constant  use 
of  idioms  well  known  as  belonging  to  the  city  of 
Mexico,  had  excited  her  suspicions  ;  she  said  he  was 
not  an  American,  but  a  Mexican  from  the  capital,  and 
she  believed  him  to  be  a  spy  of  the  Centralists.  Paw- 
ling did  not  like  the  imputation  ;  he  was  a  little  morti- 
fied at  this  visible  mark  of  long  absence  from  his  coun- 
try, and  not  at  all  flattered  at  being  taken  for  a  Mexi- 
can. Don  Francisco  laughed  at  it,  but  his  wife  was  so 
pertinacious,  that,  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  apparent 
propriety  of  my  being  attended  by  one  perfectly  fa- 
miliar with  the  language  of  the  country,  I  believe,  in  the 
state  of  apprehension  and  distrust,  Pawling  would  have 
lost  the  benefit  of  his  birthright,  and  been  arrested  as 
a  spy. 

We  passed  the  next  day  in  a  quiet  lounge  and  in 

A     BUNGO.  381 

making  arrangements  for  continuing  our  journey,  and 
the  next  day  after,  furnished  with  a  luxurious  supply  of 
provisions  by  the  senora,  and  accompanied  to  the  place 
by  Don  Francisco,  we  embarked  on  board  a  bungo  for 
the  Laguna.  The  bungo  was  about  fifteen  tons,  flat- 
bottomed,  with  two  masts  and  sails,  and  loaded  with 
logwood.  The  deck  was  covered  with  mangoes,  plan- 
tains, and  other  fruits  and  vegetables,  and  so  encumber- 
ed that  it  was  impossible  to  move.  The  stern  had  mova- 
ble hatches.  A  few  tiers  of  logwood  had  been  taken 
out,  and  the  hatches  put  over  so  as  to  give  us  a  shelter 
against  rain ;  a  sail  was  rigged  into  an  awning  to  pro- 
tect us  from  the  sun,  and  in  a  few  minutes  we  pushed 
off  from  the  bank. 

We  had  as  passengers  two  young  Central  Americans 
from  Peten,  both  under  twenty,  and  flying  on  account 
of  the  dominion  of  the  Carrera  party.  Coming,  as  we 
did,  direct  from  Central  America,  we  called  each  other 
countrymen.  We  soon  saw  that  the  bungo  had  a  mis- 
erable crew.  Above  the  men  were  called  bogadores 
or  rowers ;  but  here,  as  they  were  on  board  a  bungo 
with  sails,  and  going  down  to  the  seacoast,  they  called 
themselves  marineros  or  sailors.  The  patron  or  master 
was  a  mild,  inoffensive,  and  inefficient  man,  who  prefaced 
all  his  orders  to  his  breechless  marineros  with  the  con- 
ciliatory words,  "  Senores,  haga  me  el  favor  ;"  "  Gen- 
tlemen, do  me  the  favour." 

Below  the  town  commenced  an  island  about  four 
leagues  in  length,  at  the  end  of  which,  on  the  main- 
land, was  a  large  clearing  and  farming  establishment, 
with  canoes  lying  on  the  water.  All  travelling  here  is 
along  the  river,  and  in  canoes.  From  this  place  there 
were  no  habitations  ;  the  river  was  very  deep,  the  banks 
densely  wooded,  with  the  branches  spreading  far  over. 


Very  soon  we  came  to  a  part  of  the  river 'where  the 
alligators  seemed  to  enjoy  undisturbed  possession.  Some 
lay  basking  in  the  sun  on  mudbanks,  like  logs  of  drift- 
wood, and  in  many  places  the  river  was  dotted  with 
their  heads.  The  Spanish  historian  says  that  "  They 
swim  with  their  Head  above  the  water,  gaping  at  what- 
soever they  see,  and  swallow  it,  whether  Stick,  Stone, 
or  living  Creature,  which  is  the  true  reason  of  their 
swallowing  Stones ;  and  not  to  sink  to  the  bottom,  as 
some  say,  for  they  have  no  need  to  do  so,  nor  do  they 
like  it,  being  extraordinary  Swimmers ;  for  the  Tail 
serves  instead  of  a  Rudder,  the  Head  is  the  Prow,  and 
the  Paws  the  Oars,  being  so  swift  as  to  catch  any  other 
fish  as  it  swims.  An  hundred  Weight  and  an  half  of 
fresh  Fish  has  been  found  in  the  Maw  of  an  Alligator, 
besides  what  was  digested ;  in  another  was  an  Indian 
Woman  whole,  with  her  Cloaths,  whom  he  had  swallow- 
ed the  Day  before,  and  another  with  a  pair  of  Gold 
Bracelets,  with  Pearls,  the  Enamel  gone  off,  and  Part 
of  the  Pearls  dissolved,  but  the  Gold  entire." 

Here  they  still  maintained  their  dominion.  Accidents 
frequently  happen  ;  and  at  the  Palisada  Don  Francisco 
told  us  that  a  year  before  a  man  had  had  his  leg  bitten 
off  and  was  drowned.  Three  were  lying  together  at 
the  mouth  of  a  small  stream  which  emptied  into  the 
river.  The  patron  told  us  that  at  the  end  of  the  last 
dry  season  upward  of  two  hundred  had  been  counted 
in  the  bed  of  a  pond  emptied  by  this  stream.  The 
boatmen  of  several  bungoes  went  in  among  them  with 
clubs,  sharp  stakes,  and  machetes,  and  killed  upward  of 
sixty.  The  river  itself,  discoloured,  with  muddy  banks, 
and  a  fiery  sun  beating  upon  it,  was  ugly  enough ;  but 
these  huge  and  ugly  monsters,  neither  fish  nor  flesh, 
made  it  absolutely  hideous.  The  boatmen  called  them 


enemigos  de  los  Christianos,  by  which  they  mean  ene- 
mies of  mankind.  In  a  canoe  it  would  have  been  un- 
pleasant to  disturb  them,  but  in  the  bungo  we  brought 
out  our  guns  and  made  indiscriminate  war.  One  mon- 
ster, twenty-five  or  thirty  feet  long,  lay  on  the  arm  of  a 
gigantic  tree  which  projected  forty  or  fifty  feet,  the 
lower  part  covered  with  water,  but  the  whole  of  the 
alligator  was  'visible.  I  hit  him  just  under  the  white 
line  ;  he  fell  off,  and  with  a  tremendous  convulsion, 
reddening  the  water  with  a  circle  of  blood,  turned  over 
on  his  back,  dead.  A  boatman  and  one  of  the  Peten 
lads  got  into  a  canoe  to  bring  him  alongside.  The  ca- 
noe was  small  and  tottering,  and  had  not  proceeded 
fifty  yards  before  it  dipped,  filled,  upset,  and  threw 
them  both  into  the  water.  At  that  moment  there  were 
perhaps  twenty  alligators  in  sight  on  the  banks  and 
swimming  in  different  parts  of  the  river.  We  could  do 
nothing  for  the  man  and  boy,  and  the  old  bungo,  which 
before  hardly  moved,  seemed  to  start  forward  purpose- 
ly to  leave  them  to  their  fate.  Every  moment  the  dis- 
tance between  us  and  them  increased,  and  on  board  all 
was  confusion  ;  the  patron  cried  out  in  agony  to  the  se- 
nores,  and  the  senores,  straining  every  nerve,  turned  the 
old  bungo  in  to  the  bank,  and  got  the  masts  foul  of  the 
branches  of  the  trees,  which  held  her  fast.  In  the  mean 
time  our  friends  in  the  water  were  not  idle.  The  Pe- 
ten lad  struck  out  vigorously  toward  the  shore,  and  we 
saw  him  seize  the  branch  of  a  tree  which  projected  fifty 
feet  over  the  water,  so  low  as  to  be  within  reach,  haul 
himself  up  like  a  monkey,  and  run  along  it  to  the  shore. 
The  marinero,  having  the  canoe  to  himself,  turned  her 
bottom  upward,  got  astride,  and  paddled  down  with  his 
hands.  Both  got  safely  on  board,  and,  apprehension 
over,  the  affair  was  considered  a  good  joke. 


In  the  mean  time  our  masts  had  become  so  locked  in 
the  branches  of  the  trees  that  we  carried  away  some  of 
our  miserable  tackling  in  extricating  them ;  but  at  length 
were  once  more  in  the  middle  of  the  river,  and  renewed 
our  war  upon  los  enemigos  de  los  Christianos.  The 
sun  was  so  hot  that  we  could  not  stand  outside  the 
awning,  but  the  boatmen  gave  us  notice  when  we  could 
have  a  shot.  Our  track  down  the  river  will  be  remem- 
bered as  a  desolation  and  scourge.  Old  alligators,  by 
dying  injunction,  will  teach  the  rising  generation  to 
keep  the  head  under  water  when  the  bungoes  are  com- 
ing. We  killed  perhaps  twenty,  and  others  are  proba- 
bly at  this  moment  sitting  on  the  banks  with  our  bullets 
in  their  bodies,  wondering  how  they  came  there.  With 
rifles  we  could  have  killed  at  least  a  hundred. 

At  three  o'clodc  the  regular  afternoon  storm  came  on, 
beginning  with  a  tremendous  sweep  of  wind  up  the  riv- 
er, which  turned  the  bungo  round,  drove  her  broadside 
up  the  stream,  and  before  we  could  come  to  at  the  bank 
we  had  a  deluge  of  rain.  At  length  we  made  fast,  se- 
cured the  hatch  over  the  place  prepared  for  us,  and 
crawled  under.  It  was  so  low  that  we  could  not  sit  up, 
and,  lying  down,  there  was  about  a  foot  of  room  above 
us.  On  our  arrival  at  the  Palisada  we  considered  our- 
selves fortunate  in  finding  a  bungo  ready,  although  she 
had  already  on  board  a  full  load  of  logwood  from  stem 
to  stern.  Don  Francisco  said  it  would  be  too  uncom- 
fortable, and  wished  us  to  wait  for  a  bungo  of  his  own  ; 
but  delay  was  to  us  a  worse  evil,  and  I  made  a  bargain 
to  have  a  portion  of  the  logwood  taken  out  behind  the 
mainmast,  so  as  to  admit  of  a  hatch  on  deck,  and  give 
room  below.  But  we  had  not  given  any  personal  su- 
perintendence ;  and  when  we  came  on  board,  though 
the  logwood  seemed  of  a  rather  hard  species  for  sleep- 

MISERIES     OF     A     BUNCO. 

ing  on,  we  did  not  discover  the  extreme  discomfort  of 
the  place  until  forced  below  by  the  rain.  Even  the 
small  place  engaged,  and  paid  for  accordingly,  we  had 
not  to  ourselves.  The  Peten  lads  crawled  under  with 
us,  and  the  patron  and  senores  followed.  We  could 
not  drive  them  out  into  a  merciless  rain,  and  all  lay  like 
one  mass  of  human  flesh,  animated  by  the  same  spirit 
of  suffering,  irritation,  and  helplessness.  During  this 
time  the  rain  was  descending  in  a  deluge ;  the  thunder 
rolled  fearfully  over  our  heads;  lightning  flashed  in 
through  the  crevices  of  our  dark  burrowing-place,  daz- 
zling and  blinding  our  eyes;  and  we  heard  near  us  the 
terrific  crash  of  a  falling  tree,  snapped  by  the  wind,  or, 
as  we  then  supposed,  shivered  by  lightning. 

Such  was  our  position.  Sometimes  the  knots  in  the 
logwood  fitted  well  into  the  curves  and  hollows  of  the 
body,  but  in  general  they  were  just  where  they  should 
not  be.  "We  thought  we  could  not  be  worse  off,  but 
very  soon  we  found  our  mistake,  and  looked  back  upon 
ourselves  as  ungrateful  murmurers  without  cause.  The 
moschetoes  claimed  us  as  waifs,  and  in  murderous 
swarms  found  the  way  under  the  hatches,  humming  and 

"  Fee,  faw,  fum, 

I  smell  the  blood  of  an  English-man, 
Dead  or  alive  I  will  have  some." 

I  now  look  back  upon  our  troubles  at  that  place  with 
perfect  equanimity ;  but  at  the  moment,  with  the  heat 
and  confinement,  we  were  in  anything  but  an  amiable 
humour,  and  at  ten  o'clock  broke  out  furious,  upbraided 
the  patron  and  his  lazy  senores  for  not  reaching  the 
mouth  of  the  river  before  night,  as  is  usually  done,  and 
as  he  had  been  charged  by  the  alcalde  to  do,  and  in- 
sisted upon  his  hauling  out  into  the  stream. 
VOL.  II.— 3  C 

386  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

The  rain  had  ceased,  but  the  wind  was  still  furious, 
and  dead  ahead.  By  the  misty  light  we  saw  a  large 
bungo,  with  one  sail  set,  seemingly  flying  up  the  river 
like  a  phantom.  We  made  the  patron  haul  out  from 
the  bank,  but  we  could  not  keep  the  river,  and,  after  a 
few  zigzag  movements,  were  shot  across  to  the  oppo- 
site side,  where  we  brought  upon  us  new  and  more 
hungry  swarms.  Here  we  remained  an  hour  longer, 
when  the  wind  died  away,  and  we  pushed  out  into  the 
stream.  This  was  a  great  relief.  The  senores,  though 
more  used  to  the  scourge  of  moschetoes  than  we,  suf- 
fered quite  as  much.  The  clouds  rolled  away,  the 
moon  broke  out,  and,  but  for  the  abominable  insects, 
our  float  down  the  wild  and  desolate  river  would  have 
been  an  event  to  live  in  memory ;  as  it  was,  not  one  of 
us  attempted  to  sleep  ;  and  I  verily  believe  a  man  could 
not  have  passed  an  entire  night  on  the  banks  and  lived. 

At  daylight  we  were  still  in  the  river.  Very  soon 
we  reached  a  small  lake,  and,  making  a  few  tacks,  en- 
tered a  narrow  passage  called  the  Boca  Chico,  or  Lit- 
tle Mouth.  The  water  was  almost  even  with  the  banks, 
and  on  each  side  were  the  most  gigantic  trees  of  the 
tropical  forests,  their  roots  naked  three  or  four  feet 
above  the  ground,  gnarled,  twisted,  and  interlacing 
each  other,  gray  and  dead-looking,  and  holding  up,  so 
as  to  afford  an  extended  view  under  the  first  branches, 
a  forest  of  vivid  green.  At  ten  o'clock  we  passed  the 
Boca  Chica  and  entered  the  Lake  of  Terminos.  Once 
more  in  salt  water  and  stretching  out  under  full  sail,  on 
the  right  we  saw  only  an  expanse  of  water  ;  on  the  left 
was  a  border  of  trees  with  naked  roots,  which  seemed 
growing  out  of  the  water ;  and  in  front,  but  a  little  to 
the  left,  and  barely  visible,  a  long  line  of  trees,  marking 
the  island  of  Carmen,  on  which  stood  the  town  of  La- 


guna,  our  port  of  destination.  The  passage  into  the 
lake  was  shoal  and  narrow,  with  reefs  and  sandbars, 
and  our  boatmen  did  not  let  slip  the  chance  of  running 
her  ashore.  Their  efforts  to  get  her  off  capped  the  cli- 
max of  stupidity  and  laziness  ;  one  or  two  of  them 
pushing  on  poles  at'  a  time,  as  if  they  were  shoving  off 
a  rowboat,  and  then  stopping  to  rest  and  giving  up  to 
others.  Of  what  could  be  done  by  united  force  they 
seemed  to  have  no  idea  ;  and,  after  a  few  ineffectual 
efforts,  the  patron  said  we  must  remain  till  the  tide 
rose.  We  had  no  idea  of  another  night  on  board  the 
bungo,  and  took  entire  command  of  the  vessel.  This 
we  were  entitled  to  do  from  the  physical  force  we 
brought  into  action.  Even  Mr.  Catherwood  assisted; 
and,  besides  him,  we  were  three  able-bodied  and  des- 
perate men.  Juan's  efforts  were  gigantic.  From  the 
great  surface  exposed,  the  moschetoes  had  tormented 
him  dreadfully,  and  he  was  even  more  disgusted  with 
the  bungo  than  we.  We  put  two  of  the  men  into  the 
water  to  heave  against  the  bottom  with  their  shoulders, 
and  ourselves  bearing  on  poles  all  together,  we  shoved 
her  off  into  deep  water.  With  a  gentle  breeze  we 
sailed  smoothly  along  until  we  could  distinguish  the 
masts  of  vessels  at  the  Laguna  rising  above  the  island, 
when  the  wind  died  away  entirely,  and  left  us  under  a 
broiling  sun  in  a  dead  calm. 

At  two  o'clock  we  saw  clouds  gathering,  and  imme- 
diately the  sky  became  very  black,  the  harbinger  of  one 
of  those  dreadful  storms'  which  even  on  dry  land  were 
terrible.  The  hatches  were  put  down,  and  a  tarpaulin 
spread  over  for  us  to  take  refuge  under.  The  squall 
came  on  so  suddenly  that  the  men  were  taken  una- 
ware, and  the  confusion  on  board  was  alarming.  The 
patron,  with  both  hands  extended,  and  a  most  beseech- 



ing  look,  begged  the  senores  to  take  in  sail ;  and  the  se- 
nores,  all  shouting  together,  ran  and  tumbled  over  the 
logwood,  hauling  upon  every  rope  but  the  right  one. 
The  mainsail  stuck  half  way  up,  and  would  not  come 
down ;  and  while  the  patron  and  all  the  men  were 
shouting  and  looking  up  at  it,  the  'marinero  who  had 
:  been  upset  in  the  canoe,  with  tears  of  terror  actually 
streaming  from  his  eyes,  and  a  start  of  desperation,  ran 
up  the  mast  by  the  rings,  and,  springing  violently  upon 
the  top  one,  holding  fast  by  a  rope,  brought  the  sail 
down  with  a  run.  A  hurricane  blew  through  the  naked 
masts,  a  deluge  of  rain  followed,  and  the  lake  was  lash- 
ed into  fury  ;  we  lost  sight  of  everything.  At  the  very 
beginning,  on  account  of  the  confusion  on  board,  we 
determined  not  to  go  under  the  hatch ;  if  the  bungo 
swamped,  the  logwood  cargo  would  carry  her  to  the 
"bottom  like  lead.  We  disencumbered  ourselves  of 
boots  and  coats,  and  brought  out  life-preservers  ready 
for  use.  The  deck  of  the  bungo  was  about  three  feet 
from  the  water,  and  perfectly  smooth,  without  anything 
to  hold  on  by,  and,  to  keep  from  being  blown  or  wash- 
ed away,  we  lay  down  and  took  the  whole  brunt  of  the 
storm.  The  atmosphere  was  black ;  but  by  the  flashes 
we  saw  the  bare  poles  of  another  bungo,  tossed,  like 
ourselves,  at  the  mercy  of  the  storm.  This  continued 
more  than  an  hour,  when  it  cleared  off  as  suddenly  as  it 
came  up,  and  we  saw  the  Laguna  crowded  with  more 
shipping  than  we  had  seen  since  we  left  New- York.  In 
our  long  inland  journey  we  had  almost  forgotten  the 
use  of  ships,  and  the  very  sight  of  them  seemed  to  bring 
us  into  close  relations  with  home.  The  squall  having 
spent  its  fury,  there  was  now  a  dead  calm.  The  men 
took  to  their  sweeps,  but  made  very  little  headway ; 
and,  with  the  port  in  full  sight,  we  had  great  apprehen- 

ARRIVAL     AT     LAGUNA.  389 

sions  of  another  night  on  board,  when  another  squall 
came  on,  not  so  violent,  but  blowing  directly  from  the 
harbour.  Tremendous  rain  accompanied  it.  We  made 
two  or  three  tacks  under  a  close-reefed  foresail;  the 
old  bungo  seemed  to  fly  through  the  water  ;  and,  when 
under  full  way,  the  anchor,  or,  to  speak  more  correctly, 
stone,  was  thrown  out  at  some  distance  below  the  ship- 
ping, and  brought  us  up  all  standing.  There  were 
breakers  between  us  and  the  shore,  and  we  hallooed  to 
some  men  to  come  and  take  us  off,  but  they  answered 
that  the  breakers  were  too  rough.  The  rain  came  on 
again,  and  for  half  an  hour  we  stowed  ourselves  away 
under  hatches. 

As  soon  as  it  cleared  off  we  were  on  deck,  and  in  a 
little  time  we  saw  a  fine  jolly-boat,  with  a  cockswain 
and  four  men,  coasting  along  the  shore  against  a  rapid 
current,  the  men  at  times  jumping  into  the  water,  and 
hauling  by  ropes  fixed  for  the  purpose.  We  hailed 
them  in  English,  and  the  cockswain  answered  in  the 
same  language  that  it  was  too  rough,  but  after  a  con- 
sultation with  the  sailors  they  pulled  toward  us,  and 
took  Mr.  Catherwood  and  me  on  board.  The  cock- 
swain was  the  mate  of  a  French  ship,  and  spoke  Eng- 
lish. His  ship  was  to  sail  the  next  day,  and  he  was  go- 
ing to  take  in  some  large  turtles  which  lay  on  the  beach 
waiting  for  him.  As  soon  as  we  struck  we  mounted  the 
shoulders  of  two  square-built  French  sailors,  and  were 
set  down  on  shore,  and  perhaps  in  our  whole  tour  we 
were  never  so  happy  as  at  that  moment  in  being  rid 
of  the  bungo. 

The  town  extended  along  the  bank  of  the  lake.  We 
walked  the  whole  length  of  it,  saw  numerous  and  well- 
filled  stores,  cafes,  and  even  barbers'  shops,  and  at  the 
extreme  end  reached  the  American  consul's.  Two 


men  were  sitting  on  the  portico,  of  a  most  homelike  ap- 
pearance. One  was  Don  Carlos  Russell,  the  consul. 
The  face  of  the  other  was  familiar  to  me  ;  and  learn- 
ing that  we  had  come  from  Guatimala,  he  asked  news 
of  me,  which  I  was  most  happy  to  give  him  in  person. 
It  was  Captain  Fensley,  whose  acquaintance  I  had 
made  in  New- York  when  seeking  information  about 
that  country,  and  with  whom  I  had  spoken  of  sailing  to 
Campeachy ;  but  at  the  moment  I  did  not  recognise 
him,  and  in  my  costume  from  the  interior  it  was  impos- 
sible for  him  to  recognise  me.  He  was  direct  from 
New- York,  and  gave  the  first  information  we  had  re- 
ceived in  a  long  time  from  that  place,  with  budgets  of 
newspapers,  burdened  with  suspension  of  specie  pay- 
ments and  universal  ruin.  Some  of  my  friends  had 
been  playing  strange  antics ;  but  in  the  important  mat- 
ters of  marriages  and  deaths  I  did  not  find  anything  to 
give  me  either  joy  or  sorrow. 

Don  Carlos  Russell,  or  Mr.  Charles  Russell,  was  a 
native  of  Philadelphia,  married  to  a  Spanish  lady  of 
large  fortune,  and,  though  long  absent,  received  us 
as  one  who  had  not  forgotten  his  home.  His  house, 
his  table,  all  that  he  had,  even  his  purse,  were  at  our 
service.  Our  first  congratulations  over,  we  sat  down 
to  a  dinner  which  rivalled  that  of  our  friend  of  Totonica- 
pan.  We  could  hardly  believe  ourselves  the  same  mis- 
erable beings  who  had  been  a  few  hours  before  tossing 
on  the  lake,  in  dread  alike  of  the  bottom  and  of  anoth- 
er night  on  board  the  bungo.  The  reader  must  have 
gone  through  what  we  had  to  form  any  idea  of  our  en- 
joyment. The  negro  who  served  us  at  table  had  been 
waiter  at  the  house  of  an  acquaintance  in  Broadway ; 
we  seemed  but  a  step  from  home,  and  at  night  we  had 
clean  sheets  furnished  us  by  our  host. 

I,  A  GUN  A.  391 


Laguna. — Journey  to  Merida. — Sisal. — A  new  Mode  of  Conveyance. — Village  of 
Hunucama. — Arrival  at  Merida. — Aspect  of  the  City. — Fflte  of  Corpus  Dom- 
ini.— The  Cathedral. — The  Procession. — Beauty  and  Simplicity  of  the  Indian 
Women.— Palace  of  the  Bishop. — The  Theatre.— Journey  to  Uxmal. — Ha- 
cienda of  Vayalquex. — Value  of  Water. — Condition  of  the  Indians  in  Yuca- 
tan.— A  pecub'ar  kind  of  Coach. — Hacienda  of  Mucuyche.— A  beautiful  Grotto. 

THE  town  of  Laguna  stands  on  the  island  of  Carmen, 
which  is  about  seven  leagues  long,  and  which,  with  an- 
other island  about  four  leagues  in  length,  separates  the 
Lake  of  Terminos  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  It  is  the 
depot  of  the,  great  logwood  country  in  the  interior,  and 
a  dozen  vessels  were  then  in  port  awaiting  cargoes  for 
Europe  and  the  United  States.  The  town  is  well 
built  and  thriving  ;  its  trade  has  been  trammelled  by 
the  oppressive  regulations  of  the  Central  government, 
but  it  had  made  its  pronunciamento,  disarmed  and  driv- 
en out  the  garrison,  and  considered  itself  independent, 
subject  only  to  the  state  government  of  Yucatan.  The 
anchorage  is  shoal  but  safe,  and  easy  of  access  for  ves- 
sels not  drawing  over  twelve  or  thirteen  feet  of  water. 

We  could  have  passed  some  time  with  satisfaction  in 
resting  and  strolling  over  the  island,  but  our  journey 
was  not  yet  ended.  Our  next  move  was  for  Merida, 
the  capital  of  Yucatan.  The  nearest  port  was  Cam- 
peachy,  a  hundred  and  twenty  miles  distant,  and  the 
voyage  was  usually  made  by  bungo,  coasting  along  the 
shore  of  the  open  sea.  With  our  experience  of  bun- 
goes  this  was  most  disheartening.  Nevertheless,  this 
would  have  been  our  unhappy  lot  but  for  the  kindness 
of  Mr.  Russell  and  Captain  Fensley.  The  latter  was 
bound  directly  to  New- York,  and  his  course  lay  along 


the  coast  of  Yucatan.  Personally  he  was  disposed  to 
do  all  in  his  power  to  serve  us,  but  there  might  ~be  some 
risk  in  putting  into  port  to  land  us.  Knowing  his  fa- 
vourable disposition,  we  could  not  urge  him ;  but  Mr. 
Russell  was  his  consignee,  and  by  charter-party  had  a 
right  to  detain  him  ten  days,  and  intended  to  do  so ;  but 
he  offered  to  load  him  in  two  days  upon  condition  of 
his  taking  us  on  board,  and,  as  Campeachy  was  block- 
aded, landing  us  at  Sisal,  sixty  miles  beyond,  and  the 
seaport  of  Merida.  Captain  Fensley  assented,  and  we 
were  relieved  from  what  at  the  time  we  should  have 
considered  a  great  calamity. 

In  regard  to  the  project  for  the  purchase  of  the  ruins 
of  Palenque,  which  I  have  before  referred  to,  Mr.  Rus- 
sell entered  into  it  warmly  ;  and  with  a  generosity  I  can- 
not help  mentioning,  hardly  to  be  expected  from  one 
so  long  from  home,  requested  to  be  held  liable  for  two 
thousand  dollars  as  part  of  the  cost  of  introducing  them 
into  the  United  States.  In  pursuance  of  my  previous 
arrangement  I  wrote  to  the  prefect,  advising  him  of 
Mr.  Russell's  co-operation,  and  referring  him  to  Paw- 
ling as  my  agent  in  settling  the  details  of  the  purchase. 
This  was  enclosed  in  a  letter  from  Mr.  Russell  to  the 
same  effect,  which  stated,  besides,  that  the  money  should 
be  paid  the  moment  it  was  required,  and  both,  with  full 
instructions,  were  given  to  Pawling.  The  interest  which 
Mr.  Russell  took  in  this  matter  gave  me  a  flattering 
hope  of  success,  and  but  for  him,  the  scheme  for  ma- 
king castings  would  have  failed  entirely.  He  was  en- 
gaged in  building  an  unusually  fine  house,  and  in  order 
to  finish  it  had  sent  to  Campeachy  for  plaster  of  Paris, 
but  not  finding  any  there,  had  imported  some  from  New- 
York.  Fortunately,  he  had  a  few  barrels  left ;  and  but 
for  this  accident — there  was  none  nearer  than  Vera 

A     FLOATING     HOME.  393 

Cruz  or  New-Orleans — Pawling's  journey,  so  far  as  re- 
lated to  this  object,  would  have  been  fruitless.  We 
settled  the  details  of  sending  the  plaster  with  Pawling 
to  Palenque,  receiving  and  shipping  the  castings  to  me 
at  New- York,  and  on  Saturday  morning  at  seven 
o'clock  bade  farewell  to  Mr.  Russell,  and  embarked  on 
board  the  Gabrielacho.  Pawling  accompanied  us  out- 
side the  bar,  and  we  took  leave  of  him  as  he  got  on 
board  the  pilot-boat  to  return.  We  had  gone  through 
such  rough  scenes  together  since  he  overtook  us  at  the 
foot  of  the  Sierra  Madre,  that  it  may  be  supposed  we 
did  not  separate  with  indifference.  Juan  was  still  with 
us,  for  the  first  time  at  sea,  and  wondering  where  we 
would  take  him  next. 

The  Gabrielacho  was  a  beautiful  brig  of  about  one 
hundred  and  sixty  tons,  built  under  Captain  Fensley's 
own  direction,  one  half  belonging  to  himself,  and  fitted 
up  neatly  and  tastefully  as  a  home.  He  had  no  house 
on  shore ;  one  daughter  was  at  boarding-school  in  the 
United  States,  and  the  rest  of  his  family,  consisting  of 
his  wife  and  a  little  daughter  about  three  years  old, 
was  with  him  on  board.  Since  his  marriage  seven 
years  before,  his  wife  had  remained  but  one  year  on 
shore,  and  she  determined  not  to  leave  him  again  as 
long  as  he  followed  the  seas,  while  he  was  resolved 
that  every  voyage  should  be  the  last,  and  looked  for- 
ward to  the  consummation  of  every  sailor's  hopes,  a 
good  farm.  His  daughter  Vicentia,  or  poor  Centy,  as 
she  called  herself,  was  the  pet  of  all  on  board  ;  and 
we  had  twelve  passengers,  interesting  to  the  Common 
Council  of  New-York,  being  enormous  turtles,  one  of 
which  the  captain  hoped  would  gladden  the  hearts  of 
the  fathers  of  the  city  at  their  fourth  of  July  dinner. 

The  reader  cannot  realize  the  satisfaction  with  which 

VOL.  II.— 3  D 


we  found  ourselves  in  such  comfortable  quarters  on 
board  this  brig.  We  had  an  afternoon  squall,  but  we 
considered  ourselves  merely  passengers,  and,  with  a  good 
vessel,  master,  and  crew,  laughed  at  a  distant  bungo 
crawling  close  along  the  shore,  and  for  the  first  time 
feared  that  the  voyage  would  end  too  soon.  Perhaps 
no  captain  ever  had  passengers  so  perfectly  contented 
under  storm  or  calm.  Oh  you  who  cross  the  Atlantic 
in  packet-ships,  complaining  of  discomforts,  and  threat- 
en to  publish  the  captain  because  the  porter  does  not 
hold  out,  may  you  one  day  be  caught  on  board  a  bun- 
go  loaded  with  logwood  I 

The  wear  and  tear  of  our  wardrobe  was  manifest  to 
the  most  indifferent  observer  ;  and  Mrs.  Fensley,  pity- 
ing our  ragged  condition,  sewed  on  our  buttons,  darn- 
ed, patched,  and*  mended  us,  and  put  us  in  order  for 
another  expedition.  On  the  third  morning  Captain 
Fensley  told  us  we  had  passed  Campeachy  during  the 
night,  and,  if  the  wind  held,  would  reach  Sisal  that  day. 
At  eight  o'clock  we  came  in  sight  of  the  long  low  coast, 
and  moving  steadily  toward  it,  at  a  little  before  dark 
anchored  off  the  port,  about  two  miles  from  the  shore. 
One  brig  was  lying  there,  a  Spanish  trader,  bound  to 
Havana,  and  the  only  vessel  in  port.  The  anchorage 
is  an  open  roadstead  outside  of  the  breakers,  which  is 
considered  perfectly  safe  except  during  a  northeast 
storm,  when  Spanish  vessels  always  slip  their  cables 
and  stand  out  to  sea. 

In  the  uncertainty  whether  what  we  were  going  to 
see  was  worth  the  trouble,  and  the  greater  uncertainty 
of  a  conveyance  when  we  wanted  it,  it  was  trying  to 
leave  a  good  vessel  which  in  twenty  days  might  carry 
us  home.  Nevertheless,  we  made  the  exertion.  It  was 
dusk  when  we  left  the  vessel.  We  landed  at  the  end 

SISAL.  395 

of  a  long  wooden  dock,  built  out  on  the  open  shore  of 
the  sea,  where  we  were  challenged  by  a  soldier.  At 
the  head  of  the  pier  was  a  guard  and  custom  house, 
where  an  officer  presented  himself  to  escort  us  to  the 
commandant.  On  the  right,  near  the  shore,  was  an 
old  Spanish  fortress  with  turrets.  A  soldier,  barely 
distinguishable  on  the  battlements,  challenged  us ;  and, 
passing  the  quartel,  we  were  challenged  again.  The 
answer,  as  in  Central  America,  was  "  Patria  libre." 
The  tone  of  the  place  was  warlike,  the  Liberal  party 
dominant.  The  revolution,  as  in  all  the  other  places, 
had  been  conducted  in  a  spirit  of  moderation  ;  but  when 
the  garrison  was  driven  out,  the  commandant,  who  had 
been  very  tyrannical  and  oppressive,  was  taken,  and 
the  character  of  the  revolution  would  have  been  stained 
by  his  murder,  but  he  was  put  on  board  a  bungo  and 
escaped.  We  were  well  received  by  the  commandant ; 
and  Captain  Fensley  took  us  to  the  house  of  an  ac- 
quaintance, where  we  saw  the  captain  of  the  brig  in  the 
offing,  which  was  to  sail  in  eight  days  for  Havana,  and 
no  other  vessel  was  expected  for  a  long  time.  We 
made  arrangements  for  setting  out  the  next  day  for 
Merida,  and  early  in  the  morning  accompanied  the 
captain  to  the  pier,  saw  him  embark  in  a  bungo,  waited 
till  he  got  on  board,  and  saw  the  brig,  with  a  fine 
breeze  and  every  sail  set,  stand  out  into  the  ocean  for 
home.  We  turned  our  backs  upon  it  with  regret. 
There  was  nothing  to  detain  us  at  Sisal.  Though  pret- 
tily situated  on  the  seashore  and  a  thriving  place,  it 
was  merely  the  depot  of  the  exports  and  imports  of 
Merida.  At  two  o'clock  we  set  out  for  the  capital. 

We  were  now  in  a  country  as  different  from  Central 
America  as  if  separated  by  the  Atlantic,  and  we  began 
our  journey  with  an  entirely  new  mode  of  conveyance. 

396  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

It  was  in  a  vehicle  called  a  caleche,  built  somewhat 
like  the  oldfashioned  cab,  but  very  large,  cumbersome, 
made  for  rough  roads,  without  springs,  and  painted  red, 
green,  and  yellow.  One  cowhide  trunk  for  each  was 
strapped  on  behind,  and  above  them,  reaching  to  the 
top  of  the  calfiche,  was  secured  a  pile  of  sacate  for  the 
horses.  The  whole  of  this  load,  with  Mr.  Catherwood 
and  me,  was  drawn  by  a  single  horse,  having  a  rider  on 
his  back.  Two  other  horses  followed  for  change,  har- 
nessed, and  each  with  a  boy  riding  him.  The  road 
was  perfectly  level,  and  on  a  causeway  a  little  elevated 
above  the  plain,  which  was  stony  and  covered  with 
scrub-trees.  At  first  it  seemed  a  great  luxury  to  roll 
along  in  a  wheel  carriage  ;  but,  with  the  roughness  of 
the  road,  and  the  caleche  being  without  springs,  in  a 
little  while  this  luxury  began  to  be  questionable. 

After  the  magnificent  scenery  of  Central  America 
the  country  was  barren  and  uninteresting,  but  we  per- 
ceived the  tokens  of  a  rich  interior  in  large  cars  drawn 
by  mules  five  abreast,  with  high  wheels  ten  or  twelve 
feet  apart,  and  loaded  with  hemp,  bagging,  wax,  honey, 
and  ox  and  deer  skins.  The  first  incident  of  the  road 
was  changing  horses,  which  consisted  in  taking  out  the 
horse  in  the  shafts  and  putting  in  one  of  the  others, 
already  in  a  sweat.  This  occurred  twice  ;  and  at  one 
o'clock  we  entered  the  village  of  Hunucama,  pleasantly 
situated,  imbowered  among  trees,  with  a  large  plaza,  at 
that  time  decorated  with  an  arbour  of  evergreens  all 
around,  preparatory  to  the  great  fete  of  Corpus  Christi, 
which  was  to  be  celebrated  the  next  day.  Here  we 
took  three  fresh  horses ;  and  changing  them  as  before, 
and  passing  two  villages,  through  a  vista  two  miles  long 
saw  the  steeples  of  Merida,  and  at  six  o'clock  rode  into 
the  city.  The  houses  were  well  built,  with  balconied 

M  E  R  I  D  A.  397 

windows,  and  many  had  two  stories.  The  streets  were 
clean,  and  many  people  in  them  well  dressed,  animated, 
and  cheerful  in  appearance ;  caleches  fancifully  paint- 
ed and  curtained,  having  ladies  in  them  handsomely 
dressed,  without  hats,  and  their  hair  ornamented  with 
flowers,  gave  it  an  air  of  gayety  and  beauty  that,  after 
the  sombre  towns  through  which  we  had  passed,  was 
fascinating  and  almost  poetic.  No  place  had  yet  made 
so  agreeable  a  first  impression ;  and  there  was  a  hotel 
in  a  large  building  kept  by  Donna  Michaele?  driving  up 
to  which  we  felt  as  if  by  some  accident  we  had  fallen 
upon  a  European  city. 

The  reader  will  perhaps  be  surprised,  but  I  had  a 
friend  in  Merida  who  expected  me.  Before  embark- 
ing from  New- York,  I  had  been  in  the  habit  of  dining 
at  a  Spanish  hotel  in  Fulton-street,  frequented  prin- 
cipally by  Spanish  Americans,  at  which  place  I  had 
met  a  gentleman  of  Merida,  and  learned  that  he  was 
the  proprietor  of  the  ruins  of  Uxmal.  As  yet  I  knew 
nothing  of  the  position  or  character  of  my  friend,  but  I 
soon  found  that  everybody  in  Merida  knew  Don  Simon 
Peon.  In  the  evening  we  called  at  his  house.  It  was 
a  large,  aristocratic-looking  mansion  of  dark -gray  stone, 
with  balconied  windows,  occupying  nearly  the  half  of 
one  side  of  the  plaza.  Unfortunately,  he  was  then  at 
Uxmal ;  but  we  saw  his  wife,  father,  mother,  and  sisters, 
the  house  being  a  family  residence,  and  the  different 
members  of  it  having  separate  haciendas.  They  had 
heard  from  him  of  my  intended  visit,  and  received  me 
as  an  acquaintance.  Don  Simon  was  expected  back  in 
a  few  days,  but,  in  the  hope  of  finding  him  at  Uxmal, 
we  determined  to  go  on  immediately.  Donna  Joaqui- 
na,  his  mother,  promised  to  make  all  necessary  ar- 
rangements for  the  journey,  and  to  send  a  servant  with 

398  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

us.  It  was  long  since  we  passed  so  pleasant  an  even- 
ing ;  we  saw  many  persons  who  in  appearance  and 
manner  would  do  credit  to  any  society,  and  left  with  a 
strong  disposition  to  make  some  stay  in  Merida. 

The  plaza  presented  a  gay  scene.  It  was  the  eve  of 
the  fete  of  El  Corpus.  Two  sides  of  the  plaza  were 
occupied  by  corridors,  and  the  others  were  adorned 
with  arbours  of  evergreens,  among  which  lights  were 
interspersed.  Gay  parties  were  promenading  under 
them,  and  along  the  corridors  and  in  front  of  the  houses 
were  placed  chairs  and  benches  for  the  use  of  the  prom- 
enaders,  and  all  who  chose  to  take  them. 

The  city  of  Merida  contains  about  twenty  thousand 
inhabitants.  It  is  founded  on  the  site  of  an  old  Indian 
village,  and  dates  from  a  few  years  after  the  conquest. 
In  different  parts  of  the  city  are  the  remains  of  Indian 
buildings.  As  the  capital  of  the  powerful  State  of  Yuca- 
tan, it  had  always  enjoyed  a  high  degree  of  considera- 
tion in  the  Mexican  Confederacy,  and  throughout  the 
republic  is  famed  for  its  sabios  or  learned  men.  The 
State  of  Yucatan  had  declared  its  independence  of  Mex- 
ico ;  indeed,  its  independence  was  considered  achieved. 
News  had  been  received  of  the  capitulation  of  Cam- 
peachy  and  the  surrender  of  the  Central  garrison.  The 
last  remnant  of  despotism  was  rooted  out,  and  the  cap- 
ital was  in  the  first  flush  of  successful  revolution,  the 
pride  of  independence.  Removed  by  position,  it  was 
manifest  that  it  would  be  no  easy  matter  for  Mexico  to 
reconquer  it ;  and  probably,  like  Texas,  it  is  a  limb  for- 
ever lopped  from  that  great,  but  feeble  and  distracted 
republic.  It  was  pleasant  to  find  that  political  animos- 
ities were  not  cherished  with  the  same  ferocity;  and 
Centralists  and  Liberals  met  like  men  of  opposite  par- 
ties at  home. 


The  next  day  was  the  fete  of  Corpus  Domini  through- 
out  all  Spanish  America,  the  greatest  in  the  Catholic 
Church.  Early  in  the  morning,  at  the  tolling  of  the 
bell,  we  went  to  the  Cathedral,  which,  with  the  palace 
of  the  bishop,  occupied  one  entire  side  of  the  plaza. 
The  interior  was  grand  and  imposing,  having  a  vaulted 
roof  of  stone,  and  two  rows  of  lofty  stone  pillars ;  the 
choir  was  in  the  centre,  the  altar  richly  adorned  with 
silver;  but  the  great  attraction  was-in  the  ladies  kneel- 
ing before  the  altars,  with  white  or  black  veils  laid  over 
the  top  of  the  head,  some  of  them  of  saintlike  purity  and 
beauty,  in  dress,  manners,  and  appearance  realizing  the 
pictures  of  Spanish  romance.  Indeed,  the  Spanish  la- 
dies appear  nowhere  so  lovely  as  in  church. 

The  associations  of  one  of  my  acquaintances  having 
turned  out  so  well,  I  determined  to  present  a  letter  of 
introduction  from  friends  in  New- York  to  Don  Joaquim 
Gutierrez,  whose  family-name  stood  high  in  Merida,  and 
who,  to  my  surprise,  spoke  English  quite  as  well  as  we 
did.  He  had  gone  the  rounds  of  society  in  Europe  and 
the  United  States,  and,  like  a  good  citizen,  had  returned 
to  marry  one  of  the  belles  and  beauties  of  his  own  coun- 
try. His  family  was  from  Merida,  but  he  himself  was 
resident  at  Campeachy ;  and,  being  a  prominent  Cen- 
tralist, had  left  that  city  on  account  of  its  blockade  by 
the  Federalists,  and  in  apprehensions  of  excesses  that 
might  be  committed  a  gainst  obnoxious  individuals  should 
the  place  fall  into  their  hands.  From  his  house  we  went 
to  the  plaza  to  see  the  procession.  After  those  we  had 
seen  in  Guatimala  this  was  inferior,  and  there  were  no 
devils ;  but  the  gathering  of  people  under  the  arbour 
and  in  the  corridors  presented  a  beautiful  spectacle. 
There  was  a  large  collection  of  Indians,  both  men  and 
women,  the  best-looking  race  we  had  seen,  and  all  were 


400  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

neatly  dressed.  In  the  whole  crowd  there  was  not  a 
single  garment  that  was  not  clean  that  day,  and  we 
were  told  that  any  Indian  too  poor  to  appear  in  a  fitting 
dress  that  morning  would  be  too  proud  to  appear  at 
all.  The  Indian  women  were  really  handsome  ;  all 
were  dressed  in  white,  with  a  red  border  around  the 
neck,  sleeves,  and  hem  of  their  garments,  and  their 
faces  had  a  mild,  contented,  and  amiable  expression  ; 
the  higher  class  were  seated  under  the  arbours  before 
the  doors  of  the  houses  and  along  the  corridors,  elegant- 
ly attired,  without  hats,  and  with  veils  or  flowers  in  their 
hair,  combining  an  elegance  of  appearance  with  simpli- 
city of  manners  that  made  almost  a  scene  of  poetic 
beauty ;  and  they  had  an  air  of  gayety  and  freedom 
from  disquietude,  so  different  from  the  careworn  faces 
of  Guatimala,  that  they  seemed  as  if  what  God  intend- 
ed them  to  be,  happy.  In  fact,  at  this  place  it  would 
have  been  no  hardship  to  comply  with  the  condition 
of  purchasing  Palenque ;  and  yet  perhaps  some  of  the 
effect  of  this  strong  impression  was  only  the  result  of 

After  the  procession  Don  Joaquim  proposed  to  call 
either  upon  the  bishop  or  a  lady  who  had  a  beautiful 
daughter.  The  bishop  was  the  greatest  man  in  Merida, 
and  lived  in  the  greatest  style  ;  but,  determined  to  make 
the  best  of  our  day  in  Merida,  we  chose  the  other  branch 
of  the  alternative.  In  the  evening,  however,  we  called 
upon  him.  His  palace  was  adjoining  the  Cathedral, 
and  before  the  door  was  a  large  cross  ;  the  entrance 
was  through  a  courtyard  with  two  rows  of  corridors. 
We  ascended  to  a  second  flight,  and  entered  an  ante- 
room, where  we  were  received  by  a  well-dressed  offi- 
cial, who  notified  the  bishop  of  our  coming,  and  shortly 


THE     BISHOP'S     PALACE.  401 

afterward  conducted  us  through  three  stately  saloons 
with  high  ceilings  and  lighted  with  lamps,  in  one  of 
which  was  a  chair  of  state  covered  with  red  damask, 
which  was  carried  up  on  the  wall  behind  and  ceiling 
over  it.  From  the  last  a  door  opened  into  a  large  room 
elegantly  fitted  up  as  a  sleeping  apartment,  in  one  cor- 
ner of  which  was  a  large  silver  wash-hand  basin  with 
a  silver  pitcher ;  and  in  the  centre,  not  a  moveable 
or  not  very  easily  moved,  sat  the  bishop,  a  man  sev- 
eral feet  round,  handsomely  dressed,  and  in  a  chair 
made  to  fit,  stuffed  and  covered  with  red  morocco, 
neither  pinching  him  nor  permitting  him  to  roll,  with 
a  large,  firmly-secured  projecting  ear-piece  on  each 
side  to  catch  his  head  during  the  siesta.  It  had  arms 
broad  enough  to  support  books  and  papers,  and  seem- 
ed the  work  of  a  man  of  genius.  The  lines  of  the 
bishop's  face,  however,  indicated  a  man  of  high  tone 
and  character,  and  his  conversation  sustained  the  im- 
pression. He  was  a  Centralist,  and  a  great  politician ; 
and  spoke  of  letters  from  generals,  sieges,  blockades, 
and  battles,  in  tones  which  brought  up  a  vivid  picture 
of  some  priestly  warrior  or  grand  master  of  the  Temple. 
In  conclusion,  he  said  that  his  influence,  his  house,  and 
his  table  were  at  our  service,  asked  us  to  name  a  day 
for  dining  with  him,  and  said  he  would  invite  some 
friends  to  meet  us.  We  had  many  trials  in  our  jour- 
ney, and  it  was  not  the  least  to  decline  this  invitation ; 
but  we  had  some  hope  that  we  might  be  able  to  share 
his  hospitality  on  our  return  from  Uxmal. 

From  the  bishop's  palace  we  went  to  the  theatre,  a 
large  building  built  expressly  for  the  purpose,  with  two 
rows  of  boxes  and  a  pit.  The  upper  tier  of  boxes  was 
private.  The  prima  donna  was  a  lady  who  sat  next 
me  at  dinner  at  the  hotel ;  but  I  had  better  employment 

VOL.  II.— 3  E 

402  INCIDENTS       OF     TRAVEL. 

than  attending  to  the  performance,  in  conversation  with 
ladies  who  would  have  graced  any  circle.  One  of 
them  told  me  that  there  was  to  be  a  tertulia  and  a  bag- 
lio  at  a  country-house  near  the  town  in  a  few  days, 
and  to  forego  this  was  a  harder  trial  than  the  loss  of  the 
bishop's  dinner.  Altogether,  the  evening  at  the  theatre 
consummated  the  satisfaction  of  the  only  day  we  passed 
in  Merida,  so  that  it  remains  impressed  on  my  mind  in 
bright  relief  to  months  of  dulness. 

The  next  morning  at  half  past  six  we  set  out  for  Ux- 
mal  on  horseback,  escorted  by  a  servant  of  Senor  Peon, 
with  Indians  before  us,  one  of  whom  carried  a  load  not 
provided  by  us,  in  which  a  box  of  claret  was  conspicu- 
ous. Leaving  the  city,  we  entered  upon  a  level  stony 
road,  which  seemed  one  bed  of  limestone,  cut  through 
a  forest  of  scrub  trees.  At  the  distance  of  a  league  we 
saw  through  a  vista  in  the  trees  a  large  hacienda  belonging 
to  the  Peon  family,  the  entrance  to  which  was  by  a  large 
gate  into  a  cattle-yard.  The  house  was  built  of  stone,  and 
had  a  front  of  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet,  with  an 
arcade  running  the  whole  length.  It  was  raised  about 
twenty  feet,  and  at  the  foot  was  a  large  water-trough 
extending  the  whole  length,  about  ten  feet  wide  and  of 
the  same  depth,  filled  with  water  for  cattle.  On  the 
left  was  a  flight  of  stone  steps,  leading  to  a  stone  plat- 
form on  which  the  hacienda  stood.  At  the  end  of  this 
structure  was  an  artificial  reservoir  or  tank,  also  built 
of  stone  and  cemented,  about  one  hundred  and  fifty 
feet  square,  and  perhaps  twenty  feet  deep.  At  the  foot 
of  the  wall  of  the  tank  was  a  plantation  of  henniken,  a 
species  of  aloe,  from  the  fibres  of  which  hemp  is  made. 
The  style  of  the  house,  the  strong  and  substantial  char- 
acter of  the  reservoir,  and  its  apparent  costliness,,  gave 
an  imposing  character  to  the  hacienda. 

A     NOBLE     HACIENDA.  403 

At  this  place  our  Indian  carriers  left  us,  and  we  took 
others  from  the  hacienda,  with  whom  we  continued 
three  leagues  farther  to  another  hacienda  of  the  family, 
of  much  the  same  character,  where  we  stopped  to  break- 
fast. This  over,  we  set  out  again,  and  by  this  time  it  had 
become  desperately  hot. 

The  road  was  very  rough,  over  a  bed  of  stone  thinly 
covered,  with  barely  soil  enough  for  the  growth  of  scrub- 
trees  ;  our  saddles  were  of  a  new  fashion,  and  most 
painfully  trying  to  those  unused  to  them ;  the  heat  was 
very  oppressive,  and  the  leagues  very  long,  till  we 
reached  another  hacienda,  avast,  irregular  pile  of  build- 
ings of  dark  gray  stone,  that  might  have  been  the  castle 
of  a  German  baron  in  feudal  times.  Each  of  these 
haciendas  had  an  Indian  name  ;  this  was  called  the  ha- 
cienda of  Vayalquex,  and  it  was  the  only  one  of  which 
Donna  Joaquina,  in  speaking  of  our  route,  had  made  any 
particular  mention.  The  entrance  was  by  a  large  stone 
gateway,  with  a  pyramidal  top,  into  a  long  lane,  on  the 
right  of  which  was  a  shed,  built  by  Don  Simon  since  his 
return  from  the  United  States  as  a  ropewalk  for  manu- 
facturing hemp  raised  on  the  hacienda  ;  and  there  was 
one  arrangement  which  added  very  much  to  the  effect, 
and  which  I  did  not  observe  anywhere  else  :  the  cattle- 
yard  and  water-tanks  were  on  one  side  and  out  of  sight. 
We  dismounted  under  the  shade  of  noble  trees  in  front 
of  the  house,  and  ascended  by  a  flight  of  broad  stone 
steps  to  a  corridor  thirty  feet  wide,  with  large  mattings, 
which  could  be  rolled  up,  or  dropped  as  an  awning  for 
protection  against  the  sun  and  rain.  On  one  side  the 
corridor  was  continued  around  the  building,  and  on  the 
other  it  conducted  to  the  door  of  a  church  having  a 
large  cross  over  it,  and  within  ornamented  with  figures 
like  the  churches  in  towns,  for  the  tenants  of  the  ha- 


cienda.  The  whole  establishment  was  lordly  in  its  ap- 
pearance. It  had  fifteen  hundred  Indian  tenants, 
bound  to  the  master  by  a  sort  of  feudal  tenure,  and, 
as  the  friends  of  the  master,  escorted  by  a  household 
servant,  the  whole  was  ours. 

We  had  fallen  unexpectedly  upon  a  state  of  things 
new  and  peculiar.  The  peninsula  of  Yucatan,  lying 
between  the  bays  of  Campeachy  and  Honduras,  is  a 
vast  plain.  Cape  Catoche,  the  northeastern  point  of 
the  peninsula,  is  but  fifty-one  leagues  from  San  Anto- 
nio, the  western  extremity  of  the  Island  of  Cuba, 
which  is  supposed  at  a  remote  period  to  have  formed 
part  of  the  American  Continent.  The  soil  and  atmo- 
sphere are  extremely  dry  ;  along  the  whole  coast,  from 
Campeachy  to  Cape  Catoche,  there  is  not  a  single  stream 
or  spring  of  fresh  water.  The  interior  is  equally  desti- 
tute ;  and  water  is  the  most  valuable  possession  in  the 
country.  During  the  season  of  rains,  from  April  to  the 
end  of  October,  there  is  a  superabundant  supply ;  but 
the  scorching  sun  of  the  next  six  months  dries  up  the 
earth,  and  unless  water' were  preserved  man  and  beast 
would  perish,  and  the  country  be  depopulated.  All  the 
enterprise  and  wealth  of  the  landed  proprietors,  there- 
fore, are  exerted  in  procuring  supplies  of  water,  as  with- 
out it  the  lands  are  worth  nothing.  For  this  purpose 
each  hacienda  has  large  tanks  and  reservoirs,  construct- 
ed and  kept  up  at  great  expense,  to  supply  water  for 
six  months  to  all  dependant  upon  it,  and  this  creates  a 
relation  with  the  Indian  population  which  places  the 
proprietor  somewhat  in  the  position  of  a  lord  under  the 
old  feudal  system. 

By  the  act  of  independence,  the  Indians  of  Mexico, 
as  well  as  the  white  population,  became  free.  No  man 
can  buy  and  sell  another,  whatever  may  be  the  colour 


of  his  skin ;  but  as  the  Indians  are  poor,  thriftless,  and 
improvident,  and  never  look  beyond  the  immediate 
hour,  they  are  obliged  to  attach  themselves  to  some  ha- 
cienda which  can  supply  their  wants  ;  and,  in  return  for 
the  privilege  of  using  the  water,  they  come  under  cer- 
tain obligations  of  service  to  the  master,  which  place 
him  in  a  lordly  position  ;  and  this  state  of  things,  grow- 
ing out  of  the  natural  condition  of  the  country,  exists,  I 
believe,  nowhere  in  Spanish  America  except  in  Yuca- 
tan. Each  hacienda  has  its  major-domo,  who  attends 
to  all  the  details  of  the  managemenj  of  the  estate,  and 
in  the  absence  of  the  master  is  his  viceroy,  and  has  the 
same  powers  over  the  tenants.  At  this  hacienda  the 
major-domo  was  a  young  Mestitzo,  and  had  fallen  into 
his  place  in  an  easy  and  natural  way  by  marrying  his 
predecessor's  daughter,  who  had  just  enough  white 
blood  to  elevate  the  dulness  of  the  Indian  face  into  one 
of  softness  and  sweetness  ;  and  yet  it  struck  me  that  he 
thought  quite  as  much  of  the  place  he  got  with  her  as 
of  herself. 

It  would  have  been  a  great  satisfaction  to  pass  sev- 
eral days  at  this  lordly  hacienda;  but,  not  expecting 
anything  to  interest  us  on  the  road,  we  had  requested 
Donna  Joaquina  to  hurry  us  through,  and  the  servant 
told  us  that  the  senora's  orders  were  to  conduct  us  to 
another  hacienda  of  the  family,  about  two  leagues  be- 
yond, to  sleep.  At  the  moment  we  were  particularly 
loth  to  leave,  on  account  of  the  fatigue  of  the  previous 
ride.  The  servant  suggested  to  the  major-domo  llamar 
un  coche  ;  in  English,  to  "  call  a  coach,"  which  the 
latter  proposed  to  do  if  we  wished  it.  We  made  a  few 
inquiries,  and  said,  unhesitatingly  and  peremptorily,  in 
effect,  "  Go  call  a  coach,  and  let  a  coach  be  called." 
The  major-domo  ascended  by  a  flight  of  stone  steps 


outside  to  the  belfry  of  the  church,  whither  we  followed 
him ;  and,  turning  around  with  a  movement  and  tone 
of  voice  that  reminded  us  of  a  Mussulman  in  a  minaret 
calling  the  faithful  to  prayers,  he  called  for  a  coach. 
The  roof  of  the  church,  and  of  the  whole  pile  of  build- 
ings connected,  was  of  stone  cemented,  firm  and  strong 
as  a  pavement.     The  sun  beat  intensely  upon  it,  and  for 
several  minutes  all  was  still.     At  length  we  saw  a  sin- 
gle Indian  trotting  through  the  woods  toward  the  haci- 
enda, then  two  together,  and  in  a  quarter  of  an  hour 
there  were  twenty  or  thirty.     These  were  the  horses ; 
the  coaches  were  yet  growing  on  the  trees.     Six  In- 
dians were  selected  for  each  coach,  who,  with  a  few 
minutes'  use  of  the  machete,  cut  a  bundle  of  poles, 
which  they  brought  up  to  the  corridor  to  manufacture 
into  coaches.     This  was  done,  first,  by  laying  on  the 
ground  two  poles  about  as  thick  as  a  man's  wrist,  ten 
feet  long  and  three  feet  apart.     These  were  fastened 
by  cross-sticks  tied  with  strings  of  unspun  hemp,  about 
two  feet  from  each  end  ;   grass  hammocks  were  secu- 
red between  the  poles,  bows  bent  over  them  and  cov- 
ered with  light  matting,  and  the  coaches  were  made. 
We  placed  our  ponchas  at  the  head  for  pillows,  crawl- 
ed inside,  and  lay  down.     The  Indians  took  off  little 
cotton  shirts  covering  the  breast,  and  tied  them  around, 
their  petates  as  hatbands.      Four  of  them  raised  up 
each  coach,  and  placed  the  end  of  the  poles  on  little 
cushions  on  their  shoulders.     We  bade  farewell  to  the 
major-domo  and  his  wife,  and,  feet  first,  descended  the 
steps  and  set  off  on  a  trot,  while  an  Indian  followed 
leading  the  horses.     In  the  great  relief  we  experienced 
we  forgot  our  former  scruples  against  making  beasts  of 
burden  of  men.     They  were  not  troubled  with  any  sense 
of  indignity  or  abasement,  and  the  weight  was  not  much. 


There  were  no  mountains ;  only  some  little  inequalities 
which  brought  the  head  lower  than  the  heels,  and  they 
seldom  stumbled.  In  this  way  they  carried  us  about 
three  miles,  and  then  laid  us  down  gently  on  the  ground. 
Like  the  Indians  in  Merida,  they  were  a  fine-looking 
race,  with  a  good  expression  of  countenance,  cheerful, 
and  even  merry  in  their  toil.  They  were  amused  at  us 
because  we  could  not  talk  with  them.  There  is  no  di- 
versity of  Indian  languages  in  Yucatan  ;  the  Maya  is 
universal,  and  all  the  Spaniards  speak  it. 

Having  wiped  off  the  perspiration  and  rested,  they 
look  us  up  again;  and,  lulled  by  the  quiet  movement 
and  the  regular  fall  of  the  Indians'  feet  upon  the  ear,  I 
fell  into  a  doze,  from  which  I  was  roused  by  stopping 
at  a  gate,  on  entering  which  I  found  we  were  advancing 
to  a  range  of  white  stone  buildings,  standing  on  an  ele- 
vation about  twenty  feet  high,  which  by  measurement 
afterward  I  found  to  be  three  hundred  and  sixty  feet 
long,  with  an  imposing  corridor  running  the  whole 
length ;  and  on  the  extreme  right  of  the  building  the 
platform  was  continued  one  or  two  hundred  feet,  form- 
ing the  top  of  a  reservoir,  on  which  there  was  a  wind- 
lass with  long  arms ;  and  Indian  women,  dressed  in 
white,  were  moving  round  in  a  circle,  drawing  water 
and  filling  their  water-jars.  This  was  called  the  haci- 
enda of  Mucuyche.  We  entered,  as  usual,  through  a 
large  cattle-yard.  At  the  foot  of  the  structure  on  which 
the  building  stood,  running  nearly  the  whole  length, 
was  a  gigantic  stone  tank,  about  eight  or  ten  feet  wide, 
and  of  the  same  depth,  filled  with  water.  We  were 
carried  up  an  inclined  stone  platform  about  the  centre 
of  the  range  of  buildings,  which  consisted  of  three  dis- 
tinct sets,  each  one  hundred  and  twenty  feet  front.  In 
that  on  the  left  was  the  church,  the  door  of  which  was 

408  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

open,  and  an  old  Indian  was  then  lighting  candles  at 
the  altar  for  vesper  prayers.  In  front,  setting  a  little 
back,  were  the  apartments  of  the  major-domo,  and  at 
the  other  end  of  the  range  the  mansion  of  the  master, 
in  the  corridor  of  which  we  were  set  down,  and  crawl- 
ed out  of  our  coaches.  There  was  something  mon- 
atrously  aristocratic  in  being  borne  on  the  shoulders  of 
tenants  from  such  a  hacienda  as  that  we  had  left  to  this 
stately  pile.  The  whole  appearance  of  things  gave  an 
idea  of  country  residence  upon  a  scale  of  grand  hospi- 
tality, and  yet  we  learned,  to  our  astonishment,  that 
most  of  the  family  had  never  seen  it.  The  only  one  by 
whom  it  was  ever  visited  was  the  son  who  had  it  in 
charge,  and  he  came  only  for  a  few  days  at  a  time,  to 
see  how  things  were  conducted,  and  examine  the  ac- 
counts of  the  major-domo.  The  range  consisted  of  a 
single  suite  of  rooms,  one  in  the  centre  about  eighty 
feet  long,  and  one  on  each  side,  communicating,  about 
forty  feet  long  each,  and  a  noble  corridor  extended 
along  the  whole  front  and  rear. 

We  had  an  hour  of  daylight,  which  I  could  have  em- 
ployed very  satisfactorily  on  the  spot,  but  the  servant 
urged  us  to  go  immediately  and  see  a  cenote.  What  a 
cenote  was  we  had  no  idea,  and  Mr.  C.,  being  much 
fatigued,  turned  into  a  hammock  ;  but,  unwilling  to  lose 
anything  where  all  was  strange  and  unexpected,  I  fol- 
lowed the  servant,  crossed  the  roof  of  the  reservoir,  ce- 
mented as  hard  as  stone,  passed  on  to  an  open  tank 
built  of  stone,  covered  with  cement  inside  and  out, 
about  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  square  and  twenty  feet 
deep,  filled  with  water,  in  which  twenty  or  thirty  In- 
dians were  swimming ;  and,  descending  to  the  foot  of 
the  tank,  at  the  distance  of  about  a  hundred  yards 
came  to  a  large  opening  in  the  ground,  with  a  broad 

A.     SYLVAN     GROTTO.  409 

flight  of  more  than  fifty  steps ;  descending  which,  I  saw- 
unexpectedly  a  spectacle  of  such  extraordinary  beauty, 
that  I  sent  the  servant  back  to  tell  Mr.  Catherwood  to 
come  to  me  forthwith,  if  he  had  to  be  carried  in  his 
hammock.  It  was  a  large  cavern  or  grotto,  with  a  roof 
of  broken,  overhanging  rock,  high  enough  to  give  an  air 
of  wildness  and  grandeur,  impenetrable  at  midday  to 
the  sun's  rays,  and  at  the  bottom  water  pure  as  crystal, 
still  and  deep,  resting  upon  a  bed  of  white  limestone 
rock.  It  was  the  very  creation  of  romance  ;  a  bathing- 
place  for  Diana  and  her  nymphs.  Grecian  poet  never 
imagined  so  beautiful  a  scene.  It  was  almost  a  profa- 
nation, but  in  a  few  minutes  we  were  swimming  around 
the  rocky  basin  with  feelings  of  boyish  exultation,  only 
regretting  that  such  a  freak  of  nature  was  played  where 
so  few  could  enjoy  its  beauties.  On  a  nobleman's 
estate  in  England  it  would  be  above  all  price.  The 
bath  reinvigorated  our  frames.  It  was  after  dark  when 
we  returned ;  hammocks  were  waiting  for  us,  and  very 
soon  we  were  in  a  profound  sleep. 
VOL.  II.— 3  F 

410  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAYEL. 


Journey  resumed.— Arrival  at  Uxmal.— Hacienda  of  Uxmal. —  Major-domos. — 
Adventures  of  a  young  Spaniard* — Visit  to  the  Ruins  of  Uxmal. — First  Sight 
of  the  Ruins. — Character  of  the  Indians.— Details  of  Hacienda  Life.— A  delicate 
Case. — illness  of  Mr.  Catherwood. — Breaking  up. 

AT  daybreak  the  next  morning,  with  new  Indians 
and  a  guide  on  horseback  from  the  hacienda,  we  resu- 
med our  journey.  The  surface  of  the  country  was  the 
same,  limestone  with  scrub  trees.  There  was  not  soil 
enough  to  absorb  the  water,  which  rested  in  puddles  in 
the  hollows  of  the  stones.  At  nine  o'clock  we  reached 
another  hacienda,  smaller  than  the  last,  but  still  having 
a  lordly  appearance,  where,  as  before,  the  women  were 
drawing  water  by  a  wheel.  The  major-domo  expressed 
his  sense  of  the  honour  conferred  upon  him  by  our  visit, 
and  his  anxiety  to  serve  us,  gave  us  a  breakfast  of  milk, 
tortillas,  and  wild  honey,  and  furnished  us  with  other 
Indians  and  a  guide.  We  mounted  again ;  very  soon 
the  sun  became  intensely  hot ;  there  were  no  trees  to 
shade  us,  and  we  suffered  excessively.  At  half  past 
twelve  we  passed  some  mounds  of  ruins  a  little  off  the 
road,  but  the  sun  was  so  scorching  that  we  could  not 
stop  to  examine  them,  and  at  two  o'clock  we  reached 
Uxmal.  Little  did  I  think,  when  I  made  the  acquaint- 
ance of  my  unpretending  friend  at  the  Spanish  hotel  in 
Fulton-street,  that  I  should  ride  upward  of  fifty  miles 
on  his  family  estates,  carried  by  his  Indians,  and  break- 
fasting, dining,  and  sleeping  at  his  lordly  haciendas, 
while  the  route  marked  out  for  our  return  would  bring 
us  to  others,  one  of  which  was  larger  than  any  we  had 

ARRIVAL     AT     UXMAL.  411 

seen.  The  family  of  Peon,  under  the  Spanish  domin- 
ion, had  given  governors  to  the  province  of  Yucatan. 
On  the  establishment  of  independence,  its  present  head, 
a  stanch  Royalist,  retired  in  disgust  from  all  kinds  of 
employment,  and  the  whole  of  the  large  family  estates 
were  managed  by  the  Senora  Donna  Joaquina.  Unfor- 
tunately, Don  Simon  had  left  for  Merida,  and  we  had 
missed  him  on  the  way.  Moreover,  owing  to  the  heat 
of  the  sun  and  our  awkward  saddles,  we  arrived  at  the 
end  of  this  triumphal  march  in  a  dreadfully  jaded  and 
forlorn  condition,  and  perhaps  we  never  dismounted 
more  utterly  worn  out  and  uncomfortable. 

The  hacienda  of  Uxmal  was  built  of  dark  gray  stone, 
ruder  in  appearance  and  finish  than  any  of  the  others, 
with  a  greater  appearance  of  antiquity,  and  at  a  distance 
looked  like  an  old  baronial  castle.  A  year  before  it 
had  been  given  to  Don  Simon  by  his  father,  and  he 
was  making  large  repairs  and  additions  to  the  building, 
though,  as  his  family  never  visited  it,  and  he  only  for  a 
few  days  at  a  time,  for  what  purpose  I  could  not  con- 
ceive. It  had  its  cattle-yard  in  front,  with  tanks  of 
water  around,  some  with  green  vegetation  on  the  top, 
and  there  was  an  unwholesome  sensation  of  dampness. 
It  had,  too,  its  church,  which  contained  a  figure  of  nu- 
estra  Senor,  "  Our  Lord,"  revered  by  the  Indians  of  all 
the  haciendas  around,  the  fame  of  which  had  reached 
the  household  servants  at  Merida,  and  which  was  the 
first  object  that  attracted  the  attention  of  our  guide. 
The  whole  hacienda  was  immediately  at  our  disposal; 
but,  worn  down  with  heat  and  fatigue,  we  took  at  once 
to  our  hammocks. 

The  hacienda  had  two  major-domos,  one  a  Mestitzo, 
who  understood  the  language  and  business,  and  in  the 
other  we  found  an  acquaintance,  or,  at  least,  what  seem- 



ed  so,  for  about  the  time  that  we  left  New- York  he  was 
a  waiter  at  Delmonico's.  It  was  a  strange  encounter 
at  this  out-of-the-way  place,  to  be  brought  into  close 
connexion  with  this  well-known  restaurant,  which  in 
that  country  seemed  the  seat  of  art  and  fountain  of  hap- 
piness. He  was  a  young  Spaniard  from  Catalonia, 
who,  with  a  friend,  having  taken  part  in  some  defeated 
insurrection,  fled  to  Cuba,  whence,  on  the  point  of  being 
discovered,  they  escaped  to  New- York,  penniless.  Ig- 
norant of  the  language,  with  no  means  of  getting  a  live- 
lihood, both  were  received  by  Delmonico  as  waiters  at 
his  restaurant,  where  the  friend  rose  to  be  head  choco- 
late-maker; but  he  was  languishing  as  simple  waiter, 
when  Don  Simon  proposed  to  him  to  go  to  Uxmal. 
Without  knowing  where  he  was  going,  except  that  it 
was  to  some  part  of  Spanish  America,  or  what  was  to 
be  his  business,  he  found  himself  in  a  retired  place,  sur- 
rounded by  Indians  whose  language  he  could  not  un- 
derstand, and  having  no  one  near  him  with  whom  he 
could  exchange  a  word  except  the  major-domo.  These 
major-domos  form  a  class  in  Yucatan  who  need  sharp 
looking  after.  Like  the  Scotch  servant  applying  for  a 
place,  they  are  not  particular  about  wages,  and  are  sat- 
isfied with  what  little  they  can  pick  up  about  the  house. 
This  is  the  character  of  most  of  the  major-domos ;  and 
the  position  of  the  young  man,  being  white,  intelligent, 
and  honest,  had  advantages  in  that  country,  as  Don  Si- 
mon intended  to  give  him,  as  soon  as  he  understood  the 
business,  a  superintendence  over  the  major-domos  of 
three  or  four  haciendas  ;  but,  unfortunately,  he  wanted 
energy,  felt  the  want  of  society  and  the  loneliness  of 
his  situation,  remembered  scenes  of  enjoyment  with  his 
friend  and  other  waiters,  and  at  Uxmal  talked  of  the 
opera ;  and  when  at  dinner-time  he  drew  a  feeling  pic- 

RUINS     OF     UXMAL.  413 

ture  of  Delmonico's  saloon,  we  sympathized  with  him 

In  the  afternoon,  rested  and  refreshed,  we  set  out  for 
a  walk  to  the  ruins.  The  path  led  through  a  noble 
piece  of  woods,  in  which  there  were  many  tracks,  and 
our  Indian  guide  lost  his  way.  Mr.  C.,  being  unwell, 
returned  to  the  hacienda.  We  took  another  road,  and, 
emerging  suddenly  from  the  woods,  to  my  astonish- 
ment came  at  once  upon  a  large  open  field  strewed 
with  mounds  of  ruins,  and  vast  buildings  on  terraces, 
and  pyramidal  structures,  grand  and  in  good  preserva- 
tion, richly  ornamented,  without  a  bush  to  obstruct  the 
view,  and  in  picturesque  effect  almost  equal  to  the  ruins 
of  Thebes  ;  for  these,  standing  on  the  flat  valley  of  the 
Nile,  and  extending  on  both  sides  of  the  river,  nowhere 
burst  in  one  view  upon  the  sight.  Such  was  the  report 
I  made  to  Mr.  Catherwood  on  my  return,  who,  lying  in 
his  hammock  unwell  and  out  of  spirits,  told  me  I  was 
romancing  ;  but  early  the  next  morning  we  were  on  the 
ground,  and  his  comment  was  that  the  reality  exceeded 
my  description. 

The  place  of  which  I  am  now  speaking  was  beyond 
all  doubt  once  a  large,  populous,  and  highly  civilized 
city,  and  the  reader  can  nowhere  find  one  word  of  it 
on  any  page  of  history.  Who  built  it,  why  it  was  lo- 
cated on  that  spot,  away  from  water  or  any  of  those 
natural  advantages  which  have  determined  the  sites  of 
cities  whose  histories  are  known,  what  led  to  its  aban- 
donment and  destruction,  no  man  can  tell.  The  only 
name  by  which  it  is  known  is  that  of  the  hacienda  on 
which  it  stands.  In  the  oldest  deed  belonging  to  the 
Peon  family,  which  goes  back  a  hundred  and  forty 
years,  the  buildings  are  referred  to,  in  the  boundaries 
of  the  estate,  as  Las  Casas  de  Piedra.  This  is  the  only 

414  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

ancient  document  or  record  in  existence  in  which  the 
place  is  mentioned  at  all,  and  there  are  no  traditions 
except  the  wild  superstitions  of  Indians  in  regard  to 
particular  buildings.  The  ruins  were  all  exhumed  ; 
within  the  last  year  the  trees  had  been  cut  down  and 
burned,  and  the  whole  field  of  ruins  was  in  view,  enclo- 
sed by  the  woods  and  planted  with  corn. 

We  passed  a  most  interesting  and  laborious  day,  and 
at  evening  returned  to  the  hacienda  to  mature  our  plans 
for  a  thorough  exploration  ;  but,  unfortunately,  during 
the  night  Mr.  Catherwood,  I  believe  affected  by  the 
immensity  of  the  work,  had  a  violent  attack  of  fever, 
which  continued  upon  him  in  the  morning,  with  a  pros- 
pect of  serious  illness. 

It  was  Mondayf  and  very  early  all  the  Indians  of  the 
hacienda,  according  to  their  obligation  to  the  master, 
presented  themselves  to  receive  directions  from  the  ma- 
jor-domo for  the  day's  work.  In  remaining  about  the 
house  I  had  an  opportunity  of  learning  somewhat  of 
hacienda  discipline  and  the  character  of  the  Indians. 

The  hacienda  of  Uxmal  is  ten  leagues  or  thirty  miles 
square,  but  only  a  small  portion  is  cultivated,  and  the 
rest  is  a  mere  roaming-ground  for  cattle.  The  Indians 
are  of  two  classes :  vaceros,  or  tenders  of  cattle  and 
horses,  who  receive  twelve  dollars  per  year,  with  five 
almudas  of  maize  per  week ;  and  labradores  or  labour- 
ers, who  are  also  called  Luneros,  from  their  obligation, 
in  consideration  of  their  drinking  the  water  of  the  ha- 
cienda, to  work  for  the  master  without  pay  on  Limes 
or  Monday.  These  last  constitute  the  great  body  of  the 
Indians ;  and,  besides  their  obligation  to  work  on  Mon- 
day, when  they  marry  and  have  families,  and,  of  course, 
need  more  water,  they  are  obliged  to  clear,  sow,  and 
gather  twenty  micates  of  maize  for  the  master,  each 

DETAILS     OF     HACIENDA     LIFE.  415 

micate  being  twenty-four  square  yards.  When  the  bell 
of  the  church  is  struck  five  times,  every  Indian  is  obli- 
ged to  go  forthwith  to  the  hacienda,  and,  for  a  real  a 
day  and  a  ration  of  three  cents'  worth  of  maize,  do 
whatever  work  the  master  or  his  delegate,  the  major- 
domo,  may  direct.  The  authority  of  the  master  or  his 
delegate  over  these  is  absolute.  He  settles  all  disputes 
between  the  Indians  themselves,  and  punishes  for  of- 
fences, acting  both  as  judge  and  executioner.  If  the 
major-domo  punish  an  Indian  unreasonably,  the  latter 
may  complain  to  his  master  ;  and  if  the  master  refuse  to 
give  him  redress,  or  himself  punishes  an  Indian  unrea- 
sonably, the  latter  may  apply  for  his  discharge.  There 
is  no  obligation  upon  him  to  remain  on  the  hacienda 
unless  he  is  in  debt  to  the  master,  but,  practically,  this 
binds  him  hand  and  foot.  The  Indians  are  all  improv- 
ident, anticipate  their  earnings,  never  have  two  days' 
provisions  in  store,  and  never  keep  any  accounts.  A 
dishonest  master  may  always  bring  them  in  debt,  and 
generally  they  are  really  so.  If  able  to  pay  off  the  debt, 
the  Indian  is  entitled  to  his  immediate  discharge ;  but  if 
not,  the  master  is  obliged  to  give  him  a  writing  to  the 
effect  following:  "Whatever  senor  wishes  to  receive 

the  Indian  named ,  can  take  him,  provided  he 

pays  me  the  debt  he  owes  me."  If  the  master  refuses 
him  this  paper,  the  Indian  may  complain  to  the  justitia. 
When  he  has  obtained  it,  he  goes  round  to  the  different 
haciendas  until  he  finds  a  proprietor  who  is  willing  to 
purchase  the  debt,  with  a  mortgage  upon  him  until  it  is 
paid.  The  account  is  settled,  and  the  master  gives  the 
Indian  a  writing  of  this  purport:  "  The  account  of  my 

former  servant being  adjusted,  which  is  twenty 

dollars,  and  having  paid  me  the  said  debt,  I,  his  pres- 
ent master,  give  him  this  receipt ;"  and  with  this  he 


enters  into  the  service  of  a  new  master.     There  is  but 
little  chance  of  his  ever  paying  off  the  smallest  debt. 
He  will  never  work  merely  to  clear  off  the  encum- 
brance, considers  all  he  can  get  on  his  body  clear  gain, 
and  virtually,  from  the  time  he  receives  his  first  dollar, 
goes  through  life  in  bondage,  varied  only  by  an  occa- 
sional change  of  masters.     In  general  they  are  mild, 
amiable,  and  very  docile  ;   bear  no  malice ;  and  when 
one  of  them  is  whipped  and  smarting  under  stripes,  with 
tears  in  his  eyes  he  makes  a  bow  to  the  major-domo, 
and  says  "buenos  tarde,  serior;"  "good  evening,  sir." 
But  they  require  to  be  dealt  with  sternly,  and  kept  at  a 
distance ;  are  uncertain,  and  completely  the  creatures 
of  impulse  ;  and  one  bad  Indian  or  a  bad  Mestitzo  may 
ruin  a  whole  hacienda.     They  inherit  all  the  indolence 
of  their  ancestors,  are  wedded  to  old  usages,  and  un- 
willing to  be  taught  anything  new.     Don  Simon  has 
attempted  to  introduce  improvements  in  agriculture,  but 
in  vain ;  they  cannot  work  except  in  their  own  old  way. 
Don  Simon  brought  out  the  common  churn  from  the 
United  States,  and  attempted  to  introduce  the  making 
of  butter  and  cheese ;  but  the  Indians  could  not  be 
taught  the  use  of  them,  the  churns  were  thrown  aside, 
and  hundreds  of  cows  wander  in  the  woods  unmilked. 
The  master  is  not  obliged  to  maintain  the  Indian  when 
sick  j  though,  as  he  derives  a  profit  from  his  labour,  it  is 
his  interest  to  do  so  ;  and,  on  broad  grounds,  as  it  is  an 
object  always  to  increase  his  labradores,  it  is  his  inter- 
est to  treat  them  in  such  a  manner  as  to  acquire  among 
the  Indians  a  reputation  as  a  good  master. 

In  the  course  of  the  morning  I  visited  many  of  the 
huts  of  the  Indians.  They  were  built  in  an  oblong 
form,  of  round  poles  set  upright  in  the  ground  and 
thatched,  and  some  appeared  clean  and  comfortable. 

A    DELICATE     CASE.  417 

The  men  were  all  away  at  work,  and  all  day  there  was 
a  procession  of  women  in  white  cotton  dresses  moving 
from  the  gate  to  the  well  and  drawing  water.  It  was 
pleasant  to  find  that  marriage  was  considered  proper 
and  expedient,  conducing  to  good  order  and  thrift  cer- 
tainly, and  probably  to  individual  happiness.  Don  Si- 
mon encouraged  it ;  he  did  not  like  to  have  any  single 
men  on  the  estate,  and  made  every  young  Indian  of  the 
right  age  take  unto  himself  a  wife.  When,  as  often 
happened,  the  Indian,  in  a  deprecating  tone,  said,  "  No 
tengo  muger,"  "  I  have  no  worrtan,"  Don  Simon  looked 
through  the  hacienda  and  found  one  for  him.  On  his 
last  visit  he  made  four  matches,  and  the  day  before  our 
arrival  the  Delmonico  major-domo  had  been  to  the  near- 
est village  to  escort  the  couples  and  pay  the  padre  for 
marrying  them,  the  price  being  thirteen  shillings  each. 
He  was  afraid  to  trust  them  with  the  money,  for  fear 
they  would  spend  it  and  not  get  married. 

The  old  major-domo  was  energetic  in  carrying  out 
the  views  of  his  master  on  this  important  subject,  and 
that  day  a  delicate  case  was  brought  before  him.  A 
young  Indian  girl  brought  a  complaint  against  a  mar- 
ried woman  for  slander.  She  said  that  she  was  enga- 
ged to  be  married  to  a  young  man  whom  she  loved 
and  who  loved  her,  and  the  married  woman  had  inju- 
red her  fair  fame  by  reporting  that  she  was  already  in 
"  an  interesting  situation;"  she  had  told  the  young  man 
of  it,  said  that  all  the  women  in  the  hacienda  saw  it, 
and  taunted  him  with  marrying  such  a  girl;  and  now, 
she  said,  the  young  man  would  not  have  her.  The 
married  woman  was  supported  by  a  crowd  of  witnesses, 
and  it  must  be  admitted  that  appearances  were  very 
much  against  the  plaintiff;  but  the  old  major-domo, 
without  going  into  the  merits  at  all,  decided  in  her  fa- 

VOL.  II.— 3  G 

418  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

vour  on  broad  grounds.  Indignant  at  a  marriage  being 
prevented,  he  turned  to  the  married  woman  and  asked, 
What  was  it  to  her  ?  what  right  had  she  to  meddle  ? 
what  if  it  was  true  ? — it  was  none  of  her  business.  Per- 
haps the  young  man  knew  it  and  was  party  to  it,  and 
still  intended  to  marry  the  girl,  and  they  might  have 
lived  happily  but  for  her  busy  tongue ;  and,  without 
more  ado,  he  brought  out  a  leather  whip  cut  into  long 
lashes,  and  with  great  vigour  began  applying  it  to  the 
back  of  the  indiscreet  communicator  of  unwelcome  ti- 
dings. He  wound  up  with  an  angry  homily  upon  busy- 
bodies,  and  then  upon  women  generally,  who,  he  said, 
made  all  the  difficulties  on  the  hacienda,  and  but  for 
them  the  men  would  be  quiet  enough.  The  matrons 
of  the  hacienda  stood  aghast  at  this  unexpected  turn  of 
things  ;  and,  when  the  case  was  dismissed,  all  crowded 
around  the  victim  and  went  away  with  her,  giving  such 
comfort  as  they  could.  The  young  girl  went  away 
alone ;  the  hearts  of  her  sex  were  steeled  against  her ; 
in  savage  as  in  civilized  life, 

"  Every  wo  a  tear  may  claim, 
Except  an  erring  sister's  shame." 

In  the  afternoon  Mr.  Catherwood's  fever  left  him, 
but  in  a  very  low  state.  The  hacienda  was  unhealthy 
at  this  season ;  the  great  troughs  and  tanks  of  water 
around  the  house  were  green,  and,  with  the  regular  af- 
ternoon rains,  induced  fatal  fevers.  Mr.  Catherwood's 
constitution  was  already  severely  shattered.  Indeed,  I 
became  alarmed,  and  considered  it  indispensable  for 
him  to  leave  the  hacienda,  and,  if  possible,  the  country 
altogether.  To  carry  out  my  other  plans,  we  intended 
at  all  events  to  return.  We  made  a  calculation  that, 
by  setting  out  the  next  morning,  we  could  reach  the 

BREAKING    UP.  419 

Spanish  brig  in  time  to  embark  for  Havana,  and  in  ten 
minutes'  consultation  we  determined  to  break  up  and 
go  home.  Immediately  we  communicated  our  purpose 
to  the  major-domo,  who  ascended  to  the  belfry  of  the 
church  and  called  a  coach,  to  be  ready  at  two  o'clock 
the  next  morning. 

ol  hsmotei  I  ofoit 
J  no  show 

.vitiwoo  p. 
Htiv/  ,noiJibd  oil 

fi'ixbv  l8*;I  odJ  hhfl 


['JO     T-JJIVI 

I  gnibliud 



Ruins  of  Uzmal. — A  lofty  Building. — Magnificent  View  from  its  Doorway. — Pe- 
culiar sculptured  Ornaments. — Another  Building,  called  by  the  Indians  the 
House  of  the  Dwarf. — An  Indian  Legend. — The  House  of  the  Nuns. — The 
House  of  Turtles. — The  House  of  Pigeons.— The  Guard-house.— Absence  of 
Water. — The  House  of  the  Governor. — Terraces.—  Wooden  Lintels  —Details 
of  the  House  of  the  Governor. — Doorways. — Corridors. — A  Beam  of  Wood,  in- 
scribed with  Hieroglyphics.— Sculptured  Stones,  &c. 

IN  the  mean  time  I  returned  for  one  more  view  of  the 
ruins.  Mr.  Waldeck's  work  on  these  ruins  had  appear- 
ed before  we  left  this  country.  It  was  brought  out  in 
Paris  in  a  large  folio  edition,  with  illustrations  fancifully 
and  beautifully  coloured,  and  contains  the  result  of  a 
year's  residence  at  Merida  and  eight  days  at  Uxmal. 
At  the  time  of  his  visit  the  ruins  were  overgrown  with 
trees,  which  within  the  last  year  had  been  cleared  away, 
and  the  whole  was  laid  bare  and  exposed  to  view.  In 
attempting  a  description  of  these  ruins,  so  vast  a  work 
rises  up  before  me  that  I  am  at  a  loss  where  to  begin. 
Arrested  on  the  very  threshold  of  our  labours,  I  am  un- 
able to  give  any  general  plan ;  but,  fortunately,  the 
whole  field  was  level,  clear  of  trees,  and  in  full  sight  at 
once.  The  first  view  stamped  it  indelibly  upon  my 
mind,  and  Mr.  Catherwood's  single  day  was  well  em- 

The  first  object  that  arrests  the  eye  on  emerging  from 
the  forest  is  the  building  represented  on  the  right  hand 
of  the  engraving  opposite.  Drawn  off  by  mounds  of 
ruins  and  piles  of  gigantic  buildings,  the  eye  returns 
and  again  fastens  upon  this  lofty  structure.  It  was 
the  first  building  I  entered.  From  its  front  doorway 
I  counted  sixteen  elevations,  with  broken  walls  and 

ue  I  returned  for  one  more  view  of  the 



were  overgrown; 

thin  tb  <r  had  been  < 


RUINS     OF     UXMAL.  421 

mounds  of  stones,  and  vast,  magnificent  edifices,  which 
at  that  distance  seemed  untouched  by  time  and  defying 
ruin.  I  stood  in  the  doorway  when  the  sun  went  down, 
throwing  from  the  buildings  a  prodigious  breadth  of 
shadow,  darkening  the  terraces  on  which  they  stood, 
and  presenting  a  scene  strange  enough  for  a  work  of 

This  building  is  sixty-eight  feet  long.  The  elevation 
on  which  it  stands  is  built  up  solid  from  the  plain,  en- 
tirely artificial.  Its  form  is  not  pyramidal,  but  oblong 
and  rounding,  being  two  hundred  and  forty  feet  long  at 
the  base,  and  one  hundred  and  twenty  broad,  and  it  is 
protected  all  around,  to  the  very  top,  by  a  wall  of  square 
stones.  Perhaps  the  high  ruined  structures  at  Palenque, 
which  we  have  called  pyramidal,  and  which  were  so 
ruined  that  we  could  not  make  them  out  exactly,  were 
originally  of  the  same  shape.  On  the  east  side  of  the 
structure  is  a  broad  range  of  stone  steps  between  eight 
and  nine  inches  high,  and  so  steep  that  great  care  is 
necessary  in  ascending  and  descending ;  of  these  we 
counted  a  hundred  and  one  in  their  places.  Nine  were 
wanting  at  the  top,  and  perhaps  twenty  were  covered 
with  rubbish  at  the  bottom.  At  the  summit  of  the  steps 
is  a  stone  platform  four  feet  and  a  half  wide,  running 
along  the  rear  of  the  building.  There  is  no  door  in  the 
centre,  but  at  each  end  a  door  opens  into  an  apartment 
eighteen  feet  long  and  nine  wide,  and  between  the  two 
is  a  third  apartment  of  the  same  width,  and  thirty-four 
feet  long.  The  whole  building  is  of  stone  ;  inside,  the 
walls  are  of  polished  smoothness  ;  outside,  up  to  the 
height  of  the  door,  the  stones  are  plain  and  square ; 
above  this  line  there  is  a  rich  cornice  or  moulding,  and 
from  this  to  the  top  of  the  building  all  the  sides  are 
covered  with  rich  and  elaborate  sculptured  ornaments, 

422  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

forming  a  sort  of  arabesque.  The  style  and  character 
of  these  ornaments  were  entirely  different  from  those  of 
any  we  had  ever  seen  before,  either  in  that  country  or 
any  other ;  they  bore  no  resemblance  whatever  to  those 
of  Copan  or  Palenque,  and  were  quite  as  unique  and 
peculiar.  The  designs  were  strange  and  incomprehen- 
sible, very  elaborate,  sometimes  grotesque,  but  often 
simple,  tasteful,  and  beautiful.  Among  the  intelligible 
subjects  are  squares  and  diamonds,  with  busts  of  human 
beings,  heads  of  leopards,  and  compositions  of  leaves 
and  flowers,  and  the  ornaments  known  everywhere  as 
grecques.  The  ornaments,  which  succeed  each  other, 
are  all  different ;  the  whole  form  an  extraordinary 
mass  of  richness  and  complexity,  and  the  effect  is  both 
grand  and  curious.  And  the  construction  of  these  or- 
naments is  not  less  peculiar  and  striking  than  the  gen- 
eral effect.  There  were  no  tablets  or  single  stones, 
each  representing  separately  and  by  itself  an  entire 
subject;  but  every  ornament  or  combination  is  made 
up  of  separate  stones,  on  each  of  which  part  of  the  sub- 
ject was  carved,  and  which  was  then  set  in  its  place  in 
the  wall.  Each  stone,  by  itself,  was  an  unmeaning 
fractional  part;  but,  placed  by  the  side  of  others,  helped 
to  make  a  whole,  which  without  it  would  be  incomplete. 
Perhaps  it  may,  with  propriety,  be  called  a  species  of 
sculptured  mosaic. 

From  the  front  door  of  this  extraordinary  building  a 
pavement  of  hard  cement,  twenty-two  feet  long  by  fif- 
teen broad,  leads  to  the  roof  of  another  building,  seated 
lower  down  on  the  artificial  structure,  as  shown  in  the 
engraving.  There  is  no  staircase  or  other  visible  com- 
munication between  the  two  ;  but,  descending  by  a  pile 
of  rubbish  along  the  side  of  the  lower  one,  and  groping 
around  the  corner,  we  entered  a  doorway  in  front  four 

AN     INDIAN     LEGEND.  423 

feet  wide,  and  found  inside  a  chamber  twelve  feet  high, 
with  corridors  running  the  whole  breadth,  of  which  the 
front  one  was  seven  feet  three  inches  deep,  and  the 
other  three  feet  nine  inches.  The  inner  walls  were  of 
smooth  and  polished  square  stones,  and  there  was  no 
inner  door  or  means  of  communication  with  any  other 
place.  Outside  the  doorway  was  loaded  with  orna- 
ments, and  the  whole  exterior  was  the  same  as  that  of 
the  building  described  above.  The  steps  leading  from 
the  doorway  to  the  foot  of  the  structure  were  entirely 

The  Indians  regard  these  ruins  with  superstitious  rev- 
erence. They  will  not  go  near  them  at  night,  and  they 
have  the  old  story  that  immense  treasure  is  hidden 
among  them.  Each  of  the  buildings  has  its  name  given 
to  it  by  the  Indians.  This  is  called  the  Casa  del  Ana- 
no,  or  House  of  the  Dwarf,  and  it  is  consecrated  by  a 
wild  legend,  which,  as  I  sat  in  the  doorway,  I  received 
from  the  lips  of  an  Indian,  as  follows : 

There  was  an  old  woman  who  lived  in  a  hut  on  the 
very  spot  now  occupied  by  the  structure  on  which  this 
building  is  perched,  and  opposite  the  Casa  del  Gober- 
nador  (which  will  be  mentioned  hereafter),  who  went 
mourning  that  she  had  no  children.  In  her  distress  she 
one  day  took  an  egg,  covered  it  with  a  cloth,  and  laid 
it  away  carefully  in  one  corner  of  the  hut.  Every  day 
she  went  to  look  at  it,  until  one  morning  she  found  the 
egg  hatched,  and  a  criatura,  or  creature,  or  baby,  born. 
The  old  woman  was  delighted,  and  called  it  her  son, 
provided  it  with  a  nurse,  took  good  care  of  it,  so  that 
in  one  year  it  walked  and  talked  like  a  man  ;  and  then 
it  stopped  growing.  The  old  woman  was  more  delight- 
ed than  ever,  and  said  he  would  be  a  great  lord  or  king. 
One  day  she  told  him  to  go  to  the  house  of  the  gober- 


424  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

nador  and  challenge  him  to  a  trial  of  strength.  The 
dwarf  tried  to  beg  off,  but  the  old  woman  insisted,  and 
he  went.  The  guard  admitted  him,  and  he  flung  his 
challenge  at  the  gobernador.  The  latter  smiled,  and 
told  him  to  lift  a  stone  of  three  arrobas,  or  seventy-five 
pounds,  at  which  the  little  fellow  cried  and  returned  to 
his  mother,  who  sent  him  back  to  say  that  if  the  gober- 
nador lifted  it  first,  he  would  afterward.  The  goberna- 
dor lifted  it,  and  the  dwarf  immediately  did  the  same. 
The  gobernador  then  tried  him  with  other  feats  of 
strength,  and  the  dwarf  regularly  did  whatever  was 
done  by  the  gobernador.  At  length,  indignant  at  being 
matched  by  a  dwarf,  the  gobernador  told  him  that,  un- 
less he  made  a  house  in  one  night  higher  than  any  in 
the  place,  he  would  kill  him.  The  poor  dwarf  again 
returned  crying  to  his  mother,  who  bade  him  not  to  be 
disheartened,  and  the  next  morning  he  awoke  and  found 
himself  in  this  lofty  building.  The  gobernador,  seeing 
it  from  the  door  of  his  palace,  was  astonished,  and  sent 
for  the  dwarf,  and  told  him  to  collect  two  bundles  of 
cogoiol,  a  wood  of  a  very  hard  species,  with  one  of 
which  he,  the  gobernador,  would  beat  the  dwarf  over 
the  head,  and  afterward  the  dwarf  should  beat  him  with 
the  other.  The  dwarf  again  returned  crying  to  his 
mother ;  but  the  latter  told  him  not  to  be  afraid,  and 
put  on  the  crown  of  his  head  a  tortillita  de  trigo,  a  small 
thin  cake  of  wheat  flour.  The  trial  was  made  in  the 
presence  of  all  the  great  men  in  the  city.  The  gober- 
nador broke  the  whole  of  his  bundle  over  the  dwarfs 
head  without  hurting  the  little  fellow  in  the  least.  He 
then  tried  to  avoid  the  trial  on  his  own  head,  but  he 
had  given  his  word  in  the  presence  of  his  officers,  and 
was  obliged  to  submit.  The  second  blow  of  the  dwarf 
broke  his  scull  in  pieces,  and  all  the  spectators  hailed 

HOUSE     OF     THE     NUNS.  425 

the  victor  as  their  new  gobernador.  The  old  woman 
•jhen  died  ;  but  at  the  Indian  village  of  Mani,  seventeen 
Jeagues  distant,  there  is  a  deep  well,  from  which  opens 
a  cave  that  leads  under  ground  an  immense  distance  to 
Merida.  In  this  cave,  on  the  bank  of  a  stream,  under 
the  shade  of  a  large  tree,  sits  an  old  woman  with  a  ser- 
pent by  her  side,  who  sells  water  in  small  quantities,  not 
for  money,  but  only  for  a  criatura  or  baby  to  give  the 
serpent  to  eat ;  and  this  old  woman  is  the  mother  of  the 
dwarf.  Such  is  the  fanciful  legend  connected  with  this 
edifice ;  but  it  hardly  seemed  more  strange  than  the 
structure  to  which  it  referred. 

The  other  building  indicated  in  the  plate  is  called  by 
a  name  which  may  originally  have  had  some  reference 
to  the  vestals  who  in  Mexico  were  employed  to  keep 
burning  the  sacred  fire  ;  but  I  believe  in  the  mouths  of 
the  Indians  of  Uxmal  it  has  no  reference  whatever  to 
history,  tradition,  or  legend,  but  is  derived  entirely  from 
Spanish  associations.  It  is  called  Casa  de  las  Monjas, 
or  House  of  the  Nuns,  or  the  Convent.  It  is  situated 
on  an  artificial  elevation  about  fifteen  feet  high.  Its 
form  is  quadrangular,  and  one  side,  according  to  my 
measurement,  is  ninety-five  paces  in  length.  It  was 
not  possible  to  pace  all  around  it,  from  the  masses  of 
fallen  stones  which  encumber  it  in  some  places,  but  it 
may  be  safely  stated  at  two  hundred  and  fifty  feet 
square.  Like  the  house  of  the  dwarf,  it  is  built  entirely 
of  cut  stone,  and  the  whole  exterior  is  filled  with  the 
same  rich,  elaborate,  and  incomprehensible  sculptured 

The  principal  entrance  is  by  a  large  doorway  into  a 
beautiful  patio  or  courtyard,  grass-grown,  but  clear  of 
trees,  and  the  whole  of  the  inner  facade  is  ornamented 
more  richly  and  elaborately  than  the  outside,  and  in  a 

VOL.  II.— 3  H 

428  INCIDENTS       OF     TRAVEL. 

in  that  region,  be  like  finding  a  fountain  in  the  desert, 
or,  more  poetically,  like  finding  money.  The  supply 
of  water  would  be  boundless.  Luneros  without  number 
might  draw  from  it,  and  the  old  city  be  repeopled  with- 
out any  new  expense  for  wells  or  tanks. 

While  I  was  making  the  circuit  of  these  ruins,  Mr. 
Catherwood  proceeded  to  the  Casa  del  Gobernador, 
which  title,  according  to  the  naming  of  the  Indians,  indi- 
cates the  principal  building  of  the  old  city,  the  residence 
of  the  governor,  or  royal  house.  It  is  the  grandest  in 
position,  the  most  stately  in  architecture  and  proportions, 
and  the  most  perfect  in  preservation  of  all  the  struc- 
tures remaining  at  Uxmal. 

The  plate  opposite  represents  the  ground-plan,  with 
the  three  ranges  of  terraces  on  which  it  stands.  The 
first  terrace  is  six  hundred  feet  long  and  five  feet  high* 
Et  is  walled  with  cut  stone,  and  on  the  top  i&  a  platform 
twenty  feet  broad,  from  which  rises  another  terrace  fif- 
teen feet  high.  At  the  corners  this  terrace  is  supported 
by  cut  stones,  having  the  faces  rounded  so  as  to  give  a 
better  finish  than  with  sharp  angles.  The  great  plat- 
form above  is  flat  and  clear  of  trees,  but  abounding  in 
green  stumps  of  the  forest  but  lately  cleared  away,  and 
now  planted,  or,  rather,  from  its  irregularity,  sown  with 
corn,  which  as  yet  rose  barely  a  foot  from  the  ground. 
At  the  southeast  corner  of  this  platform  is  a  row  of  round 
pillars  eighteen  inches  in  diameter  and  three  or  four 
feet  high,  extending  about  one  hundred  feet  along  the 
platform ;  and  these  were  the  nearest  approach  to  pil- 
lars or  columns  that  we  saw  in  all  our  exploration  of 
the  ruins  of  that  country.  In  the  middle  of  the  terrace, 
along  an  avenue  leading  to  a  range  of  steps,  was  a  bro- 
ken, round  pillar,  inclined  and  falling,  with  trees  grow- 
ing around  it.  It  was  part  of  our  purpose  to  make  an 

lit  of.  these  T\ 





HOUSE     OF     THE     GOVERNOR.  429 

excavation  in  this  platform,  from  the  impression  that 
underneath  would  be  found  a  vault,  forming  part  of  the 
immense  reservoirs  for  supplying  the  city  with  water. 

In  the  centre  of  the  platform,  at  a  distance  of  two 
hundred  and  five  feet  from  the  border  in  front,  is  a  range 
of  stone  steps  more  than  a  hundred  feet  broad,  and  thir- 
ty-five in  number,  ascending  to  a  third  terrace,  fifteen 
feet  above  the  last,  and  thirty-five  feet  from  the  ground, 
about  equal  to  the  height  of  the  City  Hall,  which,  being 
elevated  on  a  naked  plain,  formed  a  most  commanding 
position.  The  erection  of  these  terraces  alone  was  an 
immense  work.  On  this  third  terrace,  with  its  principal 
doorway  facing  the  range  of  steps,  stands  the  noble 
structure  of  the  Casa  del  Gobernador.  The  fagade 
measures  three  hundred  and  twenty  feet.  Away  from 
the  region  of  dreadful  rains,  and  the  rank  growth  of 
forest  which  smothers  the  ruins  of  Palenque,  it  stands 
with  all  its  walls  erect,  and  almost  as  perfect  as  when 
deserted  by  its  inhabitants.  The  whole  building  is  of 
stone,  plain  up  to  the  moulding  that  runs  along  the  tops 
of  the  doorway,  and  above  filled  with  the  same  rich, 
strange,  and  elaborate  sculpture,  among  which  is  par- 
ticularly conspicuous  the  ornament  before  referred  to  as 
la  grecque.  There  is  no  rudeness  or  barbarity  in  the  de- 
sign or  proportions ;  on  the  contrary,  the  whole  wears 
an  air  of  architectural  symmetry  and  grandeur  ;  and  as 
the  stranger  ascends  the  steps  and  casts  a  bewildered  eye 
along  its  open  and  desolate  doors,  it  is  hard  to  believe 
that  he  sees  before  him  the  work  of  a  race  in  whose 
epitaph,  as  written  by  historians,  they  are  called  igno- 
rant of  art,  and  said  to  have  perished  in  the  rudeness 
of  savage  life.  If  it  stood  at  this  day  on  its  grand  artifi- 
cial terrace  in  Hyde  Park  or  the  Garden  of  the  Tuil- 
eries,  it  would  form  a  new  order,  I  do  not  say  equal- 


ling,  but  not  unworthy  to  stand  side  by  side  with  the  re- 
mains of  Egyptian,  Grecian,  and  Roman  art. 

But  there  was  one  thing  which  seemed  in  strange 
want  of  conformity  with  all  the  rest.  It  was  the  first 
object  that  had  arrested  my  attention  in  the  house  of 
the  dwarf,  and  which  I  had  marked  in  every  other 
building.  I  have  mentioned  that  at  Ocosingo  we  saw  a 
wooden  beam,  and  at  Palenque  the  fragment  of  a  wood- 
en pole ;  at  this  place  all  the  lintels  had  been  of  wood, 
and  throughout  the  ruins  most  of  them  were  still  in  their 
places  over  the  doors.  These  lintels  were  heavy  beams, 
eight  or  nine  feet  long,  eighteen  or  twenty  inches  wide, 
and  twelve  or  fourteen  thick.  The  wood,  like  that  at 
Ocosingo,  was  very  hard,  and  rang  under  the  blow  of 
the  machete.  As  .our  guide  told  us,  it  was  of  a  species 
not  found  in  the  neighbourhood,  but  came  from  the  dis- 
tant forests  near  the  Lake  of  Peten.  Why  wood  was 
used  in  the  construction  of  buildings  otherwise  of  solid 
stone  seemed  unaccountable  ;  but  if  our  guide  was  cor- 
rect in  regard  to  the  place  of  its  growth,  each  beam 
must  have  been  carried  on  the  shoulders  of  eight  In- 
dians, with  the  necessary  relief  carriers,  a  distance  of 
three  hundred  miles ;  consequently,  it  was  rare,  costly, 
and  curious,  and  for  that  reason  may  have  been  consid- 
ered ornamental.  The  position  of  these  lintels  was  most 
trying,  as  they  were  obliged  to  support  a  solid  mass  of 
stone  wall  fourteen  or  sixteen  feet  high,  and  three  or  four 
in  thickness.  Once,  perhaps,  they  were  strong  as  stone, 
but  they  showed  that  they  were  not  as  durable,  and  con- 
tained within  them  the  seeds  of  destruction.  Most,  it  is 
true,  were  in  their  places,  sound,  and  harder  than  lignum 
vitse ;  but  others  were  perforated  by  wormholes ;  some 
were  cracked  in  the  middle,  and  the  walls,  settling  upon 
them,  were  fast  overcoming  their  remaining  strength; 

INTERIOR     OF    THE     GOVERNOR'S    HOUSE.    431 

and  others  had  fallen  down  altogether.  In  fact,  except 
in  the  house  of  the  nuns  the  greatest  destruction  was  from 
the  decay  and  breaking  of  these  wooden  beams.  If  the 
lintels  had  been  of  stone,  the  principal  buildings  of  this 
desolate  city  would  at  this  day  be  almost  entire ;  or,  if 
the  edifices  had  been  still  occupied  under  a  master's  eye, 
a  decaying  beam  would  have  been  replaced,  and  the 
buildings  saved  from  ruin.  In  the  moment  of  greatness 
and  power,  the  builders  never  contemplated  that  the 
time  would  come  when  their  city  would  be  a  desolation. 

The  Casa  del  Gobernador  stands  with  its  front  to  the 
east.  In  the  centre,  and  opposite  the  range  of  steps 
leading  up  the  terrace,  are  three  principal  doorways. 
The  middle  one  is  eight  feet  six  inches  wide,  and  eight 
feet  ten  inches  high ;  the  others  are  of  the  same  height, 
but  two  feet  less  in  width.  The  centre  door  opens  into 
an  apartment  sixty  feet  long  and  twenty-seven  feet  deep, 
which  is  divided  into  two  corridors  by  a  wall  three  and 
a  half  feet  thick,  with  a  door  of  communication  between 
of  the  same  size  with  the  door  of  entrance.  The  plan 
is  the  same  as  that  of  the  corridor  in  front  of  the  palace 
at  Palenque,  except  that  here  the  corridor  does  not  run 
the  whole  length  of  the  building,  and  the  back  corridor 
has  no  door  of  egress.  The  floors  are  of  smooth  square 
stone,  the  walls  of  square  blocks  nicely  laid  and  smooth- 
ly polished.  The  ceiling  forms  a  triangular  arch  with- 
out the  keystone,  as  at  Palenque  /~\ ;  but,  instead  of 
the  rough  stones  overlapping  or  being  covered  with 
stucco,  the  layers  of  stone  are  bevilled  as  they  rise,  and 
present  an  even  and  polished  surface.  Throughout,  the 
laying  and  polishing  of  the  stones  are  as  perfect  as  un- 
der the  rules  of  the  best  modern  masonry. 

In  this  apartment  we  determined  to  take  up  our  abode, 
once  more  in  the  palace  of  an  unknown  king,  and  under 

432  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

a  roof  tight  as  when  sheltering  the  heads  of  its  former 
occupants.  Different  from  ruins  in  the  Old  World, 
where  every  fragment  is  exaggerated  by  some  prating 
cicerone,  in  general,  in  this  country,  the  reality  exceeded 
our  expectations.  When  we  left  Captain  Fensley's 
brig  we  did  not  expect  to  find  occupation  for  more  than 
two  or  three  days.  But  a  vast  field  of  interesting  la- 
bour was  before  us,  and  we  entered  upon  it  with  ad- 
vantages of  experience,  the  protection  and  kind  assist- 
ance of  the  proprietor,  and  within  the  reach  of  comforts 
not  procurable  at  any  other  place.  We  were  not  buried 
in  the  forest  as  at  Palenque.  In  front  of  our  door  rose 
the  lofty  house  of  the  dwarf,  seeming  almost  to  realize 
the  Indian  legend,  and  from  every  part  of  the  terrace 
we  looked  over  a  field  of  ruins. 

From  the  centre  apartment  the  divisions  on  each 
wing  corresponded  exactly  in  size  and  finish,  the  de- 
tails of  which  appear  in  the  plan,  and  the  same  uni- 
formity was  preserved  in  the  ornaments.  Throughout 
the  roof  was  tight,  the  apartments  were  dry,  and,  to 
speak  understandingly,  a.  few  thousand  dollars  expended 
in  repairs  would  have  restored  it,  and  made  it  fit  for  the 
reoccupation  of  its  royal  owners.  In  the  apartment 
marked  A  the  walls  were  coated  with  a  very  fine  plas- 
ter of  Paris,  equal  to  the  best  seen  on  walls  in  this 
country.  The  rest  were  all  of  smooth  polished  stone. 
There  were  no  paintings,  stucco  ornaments,  sculptured 
tablets,  or  other  decorations  whatever. 

In  the  apartment  marked  B  we  found  what  we  re- 
garded as  a  most  interesting  object.  It  was  a  beam  of 
wood,  about  ten  feet  long  and  very  heavy,  which  had 
fallen  from  its  place  over  the  doorway,  and  for  some 
purpose  or  other  been  hauled  inside  the  chamber  into  a 
dark  corner.  On  the  face  was  a  line  of  characters 


carved  or  stamped,  almost  obliterated,  but  which  we 
made  out  to  be  hieroglyphics,  and,  so  far  as  we  could 
understand  them,  similar  to  those  at  Copan  and  Pa- 
lenque.  Several  Indians  were  around  us,  with  an  idle 
curiosity  watching  all  our  movements ;  and,  not  wish- 
ing to  call  their  attention  to  it,  we  left  it  with  an  Indian 
at  the  moment  sitting  upon  it.  Before  we  were  out  of 
the  doorway  we  heard  the  ring  of  his  machete  from  a 
blow  which,  on  rising,  he  had  struck  at  random,  and 
which  chipped  off  a  long  shaving  within  a  few  inches 
of  the  characters.  It  almost  gave  us  a  shivering  fit, 
and  we  did  not  dare  tell  him  to  spare  it,  lest  from  igno- 
rance, jealousy,  or  suspicion,  it  should  be  the  means  of 
ensuring  its  destruction.  I  immediately  determined  to 
secure  this  mystical  beam.  Compelled  to  leave  in  haste, 
on  my  arrival  at  Merida  Don  Simon  kindly  promised 
to  send  it  to  me,  together  with  a  sculptured  stone  which 
formed  one  of  the  principal  ornaments  in  all  the  build- 
ings. The  latter  is  now  in  my  possession,  but  the  for- 
mer has  never  arrived.  In  the  multitude  of  regrets 
connected  with  our  abrupt  departure  from  these  ruins, 
I  cannot  help  deploring  the  misfortune  of  not  being  as- 
sured of  the  safety  of  this  beam.  By  what  feeble  light 
the  pages  of  American  history  are  written  !  There  are 
at  Uxmal  no  "  idols,"  as  at  Copan ;  not  a  single  stuc- 
coed figure  or  carved  tablet,  as  at  Palenque.  Except 
this  beam  of  hieroglyphics,  though  searching  earnestly, 
we  did  not  discover  any  one  absolute  point  of  resem- 
blance ;  and  the  wanton  machete  of  an  Indian  may  de- 
stroy the  only  link  that  can  connect  them  together. 

The  ornament  above  referred  to  is  introduced  in  one 
of  the  compartments  of  the  "  plan."  It  is  the  face  of  a 
death's  head,  with  wings  expanded,  and  rows  of  teeth 
projecting,  in  effect  somewha-t  like  the  figure  of  a  death's 

VOL.  II.— 3  I 




head  on  tombst 




tere  with  which  the  sui 
charged,  and  wit 
reader  v. 


:  of. 

tbe^    •:  •'          •  •  «*sand  ;  i"th« 

..  oiher  I 

:it  yeries 

le  read  .i>*v 

d  labou 


fviy»u3is»i->r,  fO-'r-S-r  v^=<  -  ^-rjL-t £i  w*f?  i  ass*!;' 



for  making  them ;  and,  more  than  this,  to  conceive  the 
immense  time,  skill,  and  labour  required  for  carving 
such  a  surface  of  stone,  and  the  wealth,  power,  and  cul- 
tivation of  the  people  who  could  command  such  skill 
and  labour  for  the  mere  decoration  of  their  edifices. 
Probably  all  these  ornaments  have  a  symbolical  mean- 
ing ;  each  stone  is  part  of  an  allegory  or  fable,  hidden 
from  us,  inscrutable  under  the  light  of  the  feeble  torch 
we  may  burn  before  it,  but  which,  if  ever  revealed,  will 
show  that  the  history  of  the  world  yet  remains  to  be 




Exploration  finished. — Who  built  these  ruined  Cities  ?— Opinion  of  Dupaix.— 
These  Ruins  bear  no  Resemblance  to  the  Architecture  of  Greece  and  Rome. — 
Nothing  like  them  in  Europe. — Do  not  Resemble  the  known  Works  of  Japan 
and  China. — Neither  those  of  Hindu. — No  Excavations  found. — The  Pyramids 
of  Egypt,  in  their  original  State,  do  not  resemble  what  are  called  the  Pyramids 
of  America. — The  Temples  of  Egypt  not  like  those  of  America. — Sculpture  not 
the  same  as  that  of  Egypt. — Probable  Antiquity  of  these  Ruins. — Accounts  of 
the  Spanish  Historians. — These  Cities  probably  built  by  the  Races  inhabiting 
the  Country  at  the  time  of  the  Spanish  Conquest. — These  Races  not  yet  extinct. 

I  HAVE  now  finished  the  exploration  of  ruins.  The 
reader  is  perhaps  pleased  that  our  labours  were  brought 
to  an  abrupt  close  (my  publishers  certainly  are) ;  but  I 
assure  him  that  1,  could  have  found  it  in  my  heart  to  be 
prolix  beyond  all  bounds,  and  that  in  mercy  I  have  been 
very  brief;  in  fact,  I  have  let  slip  the  best  chance  that 
author  ever  had  to  make  his  reader  remember  him.  I 
will  make  no  mention  of  other  ruins  of  which  we  heard 
at  more  remote  places.  I  have  no  doubt  a  year  may 
be  passed  with  great  interest  in  Yucatan.  The  field  of 
American  antiquities  is  barely  opened  ;  but  for  the  pres- 
ent I  have  done. 

And  here  I  would  be  willing  to  part,  and  leave  the 
reader  to  wander  alone  and  at  will  through  the  laby- 
rinth of  mystery  which  hangs  over  these  ruined  cities ; 
but  it  would  be  craven  to  do  so,  without  turning  for  a 
moment  to  the  important  question,  Who  were  the  peo- 
ple that  built  these  cities  ? 

Since  their  discovery,  a  dark  cloud  has  been  thrown 
over  them  in  two  particulars.  The  first  is  in  regard  to 
the  immense  difficulty  and  danger,  labour  and  expense, 
of  visiting  and  exploring  them.  It  has  been  my  object 
to  clear  away  this  cloud.  It  will  appear  from  these 

SUPPOSED     ANTIQUITY     OF     THE     R  U  I N  S.    437 

pages  that  the  accounts  have  been  exaggerated  ;  and,  as 
regards  Palenque  and  Uxmal  at  least,  the  only  places 
which  have  been  brought  before  the  public  at  all,  there 
is  neither  difficulty  in  reaching  nor  danger  in  exploring 

The  second  is  in  regard  to  the  age  of  the  buildings ; 
but  here  the  cloud  is  darker,  and  not  so  easily  dispelled. 

I  will  not  recapitulate  the  many  speculations  that  have 
already  been  presented.  The  most  irrational,  perhaps, 
is  that  of  Captain  Dupaix,  who  gives  to  the  ruins  of  Pa- 
lenque an  antediluvian  origin ;  and,  unfortunately  for 
him,  he  gives  his  reason,  which  is  the  accumulation  of 
earth  over  the  figures  in  the  courtyard  of  the  palace. 
His  visit  was  thirty  years  before  ours ;  and,  though  he 
cleared  away  the  earth,  the  accumulation  was  again 
probably  quite  as  great  when  we  were  there.  At  all 
events,  by  his  own  showing,  the  figures  were  not  entire- 
ly buried.  I  have  a  distinct  recollection  of  the  condi- 
tion of  those  monuments,  and  have  no  scruple  in  saying 
that,  if  entirely  buried,  one  Irishman,  Avith  the  national 
weapon  that  has  done  such  service  on  our  canals,  would 
in  three  hours  remove  the  whole  of  this  antediluvian 
deposite.  I  shall  not  follow  the  learned  commentaries 
upon  this  suggestion  of  Captain  Dupaix,  except  to  re- 
mark that  much  learning  and  research  have  been  ex- 
pended upon  insufficient  or  incorrect  data,  or  when  a 
bias  has  been  given  by  a  statement  of  facts ;  and,  put- 
ting ourselves  in  the  same  category  with  those  who  have 
furnished  these  data,  for  the  benefit  of  explorers  and 
writers  who  may  succeed  us  I  shall  narrow  down  this 
question  to  a  ground  even  yet  sufficiently  broad,  viz.,  a 
comparison  of  these  remains  with  those  of  the  architec- 
ture and  sculpture  of  other  ages  and  people. 

I  set  out  with  the  proposition  that  they  are  not  Cyclo- 


pean,  and  do  not  resemble  the  works  of  Greek  or  Ro- 
man ;  there  is  nothing  in  Europe  like  them.  We  must 
look,  then,  to  Asia  and  Africa. 

It  has  been  supposed  that  at  different  periods  of  time 
vessels  from  Japan  and  China  have  been  thrown  upon 
the  western  coast  of  America.  The  civilization,  culti- 
vation, and  science  of  those  countries  are  known  to 
date  back  from  a  very  early  antiquity.  Of  Japan  I  be- 
lieve some  accounts  and  drawings  have  been  published, 
but  they  are  not  within  my  reach  ;  of  China,  during  the 
whole  of  her  long  history,  the  interior  has  been  so  com- 
pletely shut  against  strangers  that  we  know  nothing  of 
her  ancient  architecture.  Perhaps,  however,  that  time 
is  close  at  hand.  At  present  we  know  only  that  they 
have  been  a  people  not  given  to  change ;  and  if  their 
ancient  architecture  is  the  same  with  their  modern,  it 
bears  no  resemblance  whatever  to  these  unknown  ruins. 

The  monuments  of  India  have  been  made  familiar  to 
us.  The  remains  of  Hindu  architecture  exhibit  im- 
mense excavations  in  the  rock,  either  entirely  artificial 
or  made  by  enlarging  natural  caverns,  supported  in  front 
by  large  columns  cut  out  of  the  rock,  with  a  dark  and 
gloomy  interior. 

Among  all  these  American  ruins  there  is  not  a  sin- 
gle excavation.  The  surface  of  country,  abounding  in 
mountain  sides,  seems  to  invite  it ;  but,  instead  of  being 
under  ground,  the  striking  feature  of  these  ruins  is,  that 
the  buildings  stand  on  lofty  artificial  elevations  ;  and  it 
can  hardly  be  supposed  that  a  people  emigrating  to  a 
new  country,  with  that  strong  natural  impulse  to  per- 
petuate and  retain  under  their  eyes  memorials  of  home, 
would  have  gone  so  directly  counter  to  national  and  re- 
ligious associations. 

In  sculpture,  too,  the  Hindus  differ  entirely.     Their 


subjects  are  far  more  hideous,  being  in  general  repre- 
sentations of  human  beings  distorted,  deformed,  and 
unnatural,  very  often  many-headed,  or  with  three  or 
four  arms  or  legs  thrown  out  from  the  same  body. 

Lastly  we  come  to  the  Egyptians.  The  point  of  re- 
semblance upon  which  the  great  stress  has  been  laid  is 
the  pyramid.  The  pyramidal  form  is  one  which  sug- 
gests itself  to  human  intelligence  in  every  country  as  the 
simplest  and  surest  mode  of  erecting  a  high  structure 
upon  a  solid  foundation.  It  cannot  be  regarded,  as  a 
ground  for  assigning  a  common  origin  to  all  people 
among  whom  structures  of  that  character  are  found,  un- 
less the  similarity  is  preserved  in  its  most  striking  fea- 
tures. The  pyramids  of  Egypt  are  peculiar  and  uni- 
form, and  were  invariably  erected  for  the  same  uses 
and  purposes,  so  far  as  those  uses  and  purposes  are 
known.  They  are  all  square  at  the  base,  with  steps 
rising  and  diminishing  until  they  come  to  a  point.  The 
nearest  approach  to  this  is  at  Copan  ;  but  even  at  that 
place  there  is  no  entire  pyramid  standing  alone  and 
disconnected,  nor  one  with  four  sides  complete,  but  only 
two,  or,  at  most,  three  sides,  and  intended  to  form 
part  of  other  structures.  All  the  rest,  without  a  single 
exception,  were  high  elevations,  with  sides  so  broken 
that  we  could  not  make  out  their  form,  which,  perhaps, 
were  merely  walled  around,  and  had  ranges  of  steps  in 
front  and  rear,  as  at  Uxmal,  or  terraces  or  raised  plat- 
forms of  earth,  at  most  of  three  or  four  ranges,  not  of 
any  precise  form,  but  never  square,  and  with  small  ran- 
ges of  steps  in  the  centre.  Besides,  the  pyramids  of 
Egypt  are  known  to  have  interior  chambers,  and,  what- 
ever their  other  uses,  to  have  been  intended  and  used 
as  sepulchres.  These,  on  the  contrary,  are  of  solid 
earth  and  stone,.  No  interior  chambers  have  ever  been 





remarkable  for  their  vastness  and  the  massiveness  of 
the  stone  used  in  their  construction.  This  does  not 
seem  to  have  been  aimed  at  by  the  American  builders. 
Among  all  these  ruins  we  did  not  see  a  stone  worthy 
of  being  laid  on  the  walls  of  an  Egyptian  temple.  The 
largest  single  blocks  were  the  "idols"  or  "obelisks," 
as  they  have  been  called,  of  Copan  and  Quirigua  ;  but  in 
Egypt  stones  large  as  these  are  raised  to  a  height  of  twen- 
ty or  thirty  feet  and  laid  in  the  walls,  while  the  obelisks 
which  stand  as  ornaments  at  the  doors,  towering,  a  sin- 
gle stone,  to  the  height  of  ninety  feet,  so  overpower  them 
by  their  grandeur,  that,  if  imitations,  they  are  the  fee- 
blest ever  attempted  by  aspiring  men. 

Again:  columns  are  a  distinguishing  feature  of  Egyp- 
tian architecture,  grand  and  massive,  and  at  this  day 
towering  above  the  sands,  startling  the  wondering  trav- 
eller in  that  mysterious  country.  There  is  not  a  temple 
on  the  Nile  without  them ;  and  the  reader  will  bear  in 
mindj  that  among  the  whole  of  these  ruins  not  one  col- 
umn has  been  found.  If  this  architecture  had  been 
derived  from  the  Egyptian,  so  striking  and  important  a 
feature  would  never  have  been  thrown  aside.  The 
dromos,  pronaos,  and  adytum,  all  equally  characteristic 
of  Egyptian  temples,  are  also  here  entirely  wanting. 

Next,  as  to  sculpture.  The  idea  of  resemblance  in 
this  particular  has  been  so  often  and  so  confidently  ex- 
pressed, and  the  drawings  in  these  pages  have  so  often 
given  the  same  impression,  that  I  almost  hesitate  to  de- 
clare the  total  want  of  similarity.  What  the  differences 
are  I  will  not  attempt  to  point  out ;  but,  that  the  reader 
may  have  the  whole  subject  before  him  at  once,  I  have 
introduced  a  plate  of  Egyptian  sculpture  taken  from 
Mr.  Catherwood's  portfolio.  The  subject  on  the  right 
is  from  the  side  of  the  great  monument  at  Thebes  known 

VOL.  II.— 3  K 

442  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

as  the  vocal  Memnon,  and  has  never  before  been  en- 
graved. The  other  is  the  top  of  the  fallen  obelisk  of 
Carnac ;  and  I  think,  by  comparison  with  the  engra- 
vings before  presented,  it  will  be  found  that  there  is  no 
resemblance  whatever.  If  there  be  any  at  all  striking, 
it  is  only  that  the  figures  are  in  profile,  and  this  is 
equally  true  of  all  good  sculpture  in  bas-relief. 

There  is,  then,  no  resemblance  in  these  remains  to 
those  of  the  Egyptians  ;  and,  failing  here,  we  look  else- 
where in  vain.  They  are  different  from  the  works  of 
any  other  known  people,  of  a  new  order,  and  entirely 
and  absolutely  anomalous :  they  stand  alone. 

I  invite  to  this  subject  the  special  attention  of  those 
familiar  with  the  arts  of  other  countries ;  for,  unless  I  am 
wrong,  we  have  a.conclusion  far  more  interesting  and 
wonderful  than  that  of  connecting  the  builders  of  these 
cities  with  the  Egyptians  or  any  other  people.  It  is  the 
spectacle  of  a  people  skilled  in  architecture,  sculpture, 
and  drawing,  and,  beyond  doubt,  other  more  perishable 
arts,  and  possessing  the  cultivation  and  refinement  at- 
tendant upon  these,  not  derived  from  the  Old  World, 
but  originating  and  growing  up  here,  without  models  or 
masters,  having  a  distinct,  separate,  independent  exist- 
ence ;  like  the  plants  and  fruits  of  the  soil,  indigenous. 

I  shall  not  attempt  to  inquire  into  the  origin  of  this 
people,  from  what  country  they  came,  or  when,  or  how ; 
I  shall  confine  myself  to  their  works  and  to  the  ruins. 

I  am  inclined  to  think  that  there  are  not  sufficient 
grounds  for  the  belief  in  the  great  antiquity  that  has 
been  ascribed  to  these  ruins  ;  that  they  are  not  the 
works  of  people  who  have  passed  away,  and  whose  his- 
tory has  become  unknown ;  but,  opposed  as  is  my  idea 
to  all  previous  speculations,  that  they  were  constructed 
by  the  races  who  occupied  the  country  at  the  time  of 

COMPARATIVE     MODERN     DATE     OF     R  U  I N  S.    443 

the  invasion  by  the  Spaniards,  or  of  some  not  very  dis- 
tant progenitors. 

And  this  opinion  is  founded,  first,  upon  the  appear- 
ance and  condition  of  the  remains  themselves.  The 
climate  and  rank  luxuriance  of  soil  are  most  destructive 
to  all  perishable  materials.  For  six  months  every  year 
exposed  to  the  deluge  of  tropical  rains,  and  with  trees 
growing  through  the  doorways  of  buildings  and  on  the 
tops,  it  seems  impossible  that,  after  a  lapse  of  two  or 
three  thousand  years,  a  single  edifice  could  now  be 

The  existence  of  wooden  beams,  and  at  Uxmal  in  a 
perfect  state  of  preservation,  confirms  this  opinion.  The 
durability  of  wood  will  depend  upon  its  quality  and 
exposure.  In  Egypt,  it  is  true,  wood  has  been  dis- 
covered sound  and  perfect,  and  certainly  three  thou- 
sand years  old ;  but  even  in  that  dry  climate  none  has 
ever  been  found  in  a  situation  at  all  exposed.  It  occurs 
only  in  coffins  in  the  tombs  and  mummy-pits  of  Thebes, 
and  in  wooden  cramps  connecting  two  stones  together, 
completely  shut  in  and  excluded  from  the  air. 

Secondly,  my  opinion  is  founded  upon  historical  ac- 
counts. Herrera,  perhaps  the  most  reliable  of  the  Span- 
ish historians,  says  of  Yucatan  :  "  The  whole  country  is 
divided  into  eighteen  districts,  and  in  all  of  them  were 
so  many  and  such  stately  Stone  Buildings  that  it  was 
amazing,  and  the  greatest  Wonder  is,  that  having  no 
Use  of  any  Metal,  they  were  able  to  raise  such  Struc- 
tures, which  seem  to  have  been  Temples,  for  their 
Houses  were  always  of  Timber  and  thatched.  In  those 
Edifices  were  carved  the  Figures  of  naked  Men,  with 
Earrings  after  the  Indian  manner,  Idols  of  all  Sorts, 
Lions,  Pots  or  Jarrs,"  &c. ;  and  again,  "  after  the  part- 
ing of  these  lords,  for  the  space  of  twenty  years  there 


was  such  plenty  through  the  Country,  and  the  People 
multiplied  so  much,  that  old  Men  said  the  whole  Prov- 
ince looked  like  one  Town,  and  then  they  applied  them- 
selves to  build  more  Temples,  which  produced  so  great 
a  number  of  them." 

Of  the  natives  he  says,  "  They  flattened  their  Heads 
and  Foreheads,  their  Ears  bor'd  with  Rings  in  them. 
Their  Faces  were  generally  good,  and  not  very  brown, 
but  without  Beards,  for  they  scorched  them  when  young, 
that  they  might  not  grow.  Their  Hair  was  long  like 
Women,  and  in  Tresses,  with  which  they  made  a  Gar- 
land about  the  Head,  and  a  little  Tail  hung  behind." 
"  The  prime  Men  wore  a  Rowler  eight  Fingers  broad 
round  about  them  instead  of  Breeches,  and  going  sev- 
eral times  round  thg  Waste,  so  that  one  end  of  it  hung* 
before  and  the  other  behind,  with  fine  Feather-work,  and 
had  large  square  Mantles  knotted  on  their  Shoulders,  and 
Sandals  or  Buskins  made  of  Deer's  Skins."  The  read- 
er almost  sees  here,  in  the  flatted  heads  and  costumes 
of  the  natives,  a  picture  of  the  sculptured  and  stuccoed 
figures  at  Palenque,  which,  though  a  little  beyond  the 
present  territorial  borders  of  Yucatan,  was  perhaps  once 
a  part  of  that  province. 

Besides  the  glowing  and  familiar  descriptions  given 
by  Cortez  of  the  splendour  exhibited  in  the  buildings 
of  Mexico,  I  have  within  my  reach  the  authority  of  but 
one  eyewitness.  It  is  that  of  Bernal  Diaz  de  Castillo, 
a  follower  and  sharer  in  all  the  expeditions  attending 
the  conquest  of  Mexico. 

Beginning  with  the  first  expedition,  he  says,  "  On 
approaching  Yucatan,  we  perceived  a  large  town  at  the 
distance  of  two  leagues  from  the  coast,  which,  from  its 
size,  it  exceeding  any  town  in  Cuba,  we  named  Grand 
Cairo."  Upon  the  invitation  of  a  chief,  who  came  off 

ACCOUNT     OF     BERNAL     DIAZ.  445 

in  a  canoe,  they  went  ashore,  and  set  out  to  march  to 
the  town,  but  on  their  way  were  surprised  by  the  na- 
tives, whom,  however,  they  repulsed,  killing  fifteen. 
"  Near  the  place  of  this  ambuscade,"  he  says,  "  were 
three  buildings  of  lime  and  stone,  wherein  were  idols  of 
clay  with  diabolical  countenances,"  &c.  "  The  build- 
ings of  lime  and  stone,  and  the  gold,  gave  us  a  high  idea 
of  the  country  we  had  discovered." 

In  fifteen  days'  farther  sailing,  they  discovered  from 
the  ships  a  large  town,  with  an  inlet,  and  went  ashore 
for  water.  While  filling  their  casks  they  were  accost- 
ed by  fifty  Indians,  "  dressed  in  cotton  mantles,"  who 
"  by  signs  invited  us  to  their  town."  Proceeding  thith- 
er, they  "  arrived  at  some  large  and  very  well-construct- 
ed buildings  of  lime  and  stone,  with  figures  of  serpents 
and  of  idols  painted  upon  the  walls." 

In  the  second  expedition,  sailing  along  the  coast,  they 
passed  a  low  island,  about  three  leagues  from  the  main, 
where,  on  going  ashore,  they  found  "  two  buildings  of 
lime  and  stone,  well  constructed,  each  with  steps,  and 
an  altar  placed  before  certain  hideous  figures,  the  rep- 
resentations of  the  gods  of  these  Indians." 

His  third  expedition  was  under  Cortez,  and  in  this 
his  regard  for  truth  and  the  reliance  that  may  be  placed 
upon  him  are  happily  shown  in  the  struggle  between 
deep  religious  feeling  and  belief  in  the  evidence  of  his 
senses,  which  appears  in  his  comment  upon  Gomara's 
account  of  their  first  battle.  "  In  his  account  of  this 
action,  Gomara  says  that,  previous  to  the  arrival  of  the 
main  body  under  Cortez,  Francisco  de  Morla  appeared 
in  the  field  upon  a  gray  dappled  horse,  and  that  it  was 
one  of  the  holy  apostles,  St.  Peter  or  St.  Jago,  disguised 
under  his  person.  I  say  that  all  our  works  and  victo- 
ries  are  guided  by  the  hand  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ, 


and  that  in  this  battle  there  were  so  many  enemies  to 
every  one  of  us,  that  they  could  have  buried  us  under 
the  dust  they  could  have  held  in  their  hands,  but  that 
the  great  mercy  of  God  aided  us  throughout.  What 
Gomara  asserts  may  be  the  case,  and  I,  sinner  as  I  am, 
was  not  permitted  to  see  it.  What  I  did  see  was 
Francisco  de  Morla  riding  in  company  with  Cortez  and 
the  rest  upon  a  chestnut  horse.  But  although  I,  unwor- 
thy sinner  that  I  am,  was  unfit  to  behold  either  of  these 
apostles,  upward  of  four  hundred  of  us  were  present. 
Let  their  testimony  be  taken.  Let  inquiry  also  be  made 
how  it  happened  that,  when  the  town  was  founded  on 
that  spot,  it  was  not  named  after  one  or  other  of  these 
holy  apostles,  and  called  St.  Jago  de  la  Vittoria  or  St. 
Pedro  de  la  Vittorfa,  as  it  was  Santa  Maria,  and  a  church 
erected  and  dedicated  to  one  of  these  holy  saints. 
Very  bad  Christians  were  we,  indeed,  according  to  the 
account  of  Gomara,  who,  when  God  sent  us  his  apos- 
tles to  fight  at  our  head,  did  not  every  day  after  ac- 
knowledge and  return  thanks  for  so  great  a  mercy !" 

Setting  out  on  their  march  to  Mexico,  they  arrived  at 
Cempoal,  entering  which,  he  says,  "  We  were  surprised 
with  the  beauty  of  the  buildings."  "  Our  advanced 
guard  having  gone  to  the  great  square,  the  buildings  of 
which  had  been  lately  whitewashed  and  plastered,  in 
which  art  these  people  are  very  expert,  one  of  our  horse- 
men was  so  struck  with  the  splendour  of  their  appear- 
ance in  the  sun,  that  he  came  back  in  full  speed  to 
Cortez  to  tell  him  that  the  walls  of  the  houses  were  of 

Offended  by  the  abominable  custom  of  human  sacri- 
fices, Cortez  determined  to  suppress  by  force  their  idol- 
atrous worship,  and  destroy  their  false  gods.  The 
chiefs  ordered  the  people  to  arm  in  defence  of  their 

BERNAL     DIAZ     ON     THE     TEMPLES.  447 

tempie  ;  "  but  when  they  saw  that  we  were  preparing 
to  ascend  the  great  flight  of  steps,"  they  said  "  they 
could  not  help  themselves ;  and  they  had  hardly  said 
this,  when  fifty  of  us,  going-  up  for  the  purpose,  threw 
down  and  broke  in  pieces  the  enormous  idols  which  we 
found  within  the  temple."  Cortez  then  caused  a  num- 
ber of  "  Indian  masons  to  be  collected,  with  lime,  which 
abounded  in  that  place,  and  had  the  walls  cleared  of 
blood  and  new  plastered" 

As  they  approached  the  territory  of  Mexico,  he  con- 
tinues, "  Appearances  demonstrated  that  we  had  entered 
a  new  country,  for  the  temples  were  very  lofty,  and,  to- 
gether with  the  terraced  dwellings  and  the  houses  of  the 
cacique,  being  plastered  and  whitewashed,  appeared  very 
well,  and  resembled  some  of  our  towns  in  Spain." 

Farther  on  he  says,  "  We  arrived  at  a  kind  of  fortifi- 
cation, built  of  lime  and  stone,  of  so  strong  a  nature  that 
nothing  but  tools  of  iron  could  nave  any  effect  upon  it. 
The  people  informed  us  that  it  was  built  by  the  Tlasca- 
lans,  on  whose  territory  it  stood,  as  a  defence  against 
the  incursions  of  the  Mexicans." 

At  Tehuacingo,  after  a  sanguinary  battle,  in  which 
the  Indians  "  drew  off  and  left  the  field  to  them,  who 
were  too  much  fatigued  to  follow,"  he  adds,  "As  soon 
as  we  found  ourselves  clear  of  them,  we  returned  thanks 
to  God  for  his  mercy,  and,  entering  a  strong  and  spa- 
cious temple,  we  dressed  our  wounds  with  the  fat  of  In- 

Arrived  at  Cholula,  Cortez  immediately  "  sent  some 
soldiers  to  a  great  temple  hard  by  our  quarters,  with  or- 
ders to  bring,  as  quietly  as  they  could,  two  priests." 
In  this  they  succeeded.  One  of  them  was  a  person  of 
rank  and  authority  over  all  the  temples  of  the  city. 
Again  •  "within  the  high  walls  of  the  courts  where  we 



were  quartered."  And  again  :  the  city  of  Cholnla,  he 
says,  "  much  resembled  Valladolid."  It  "  had  at  that 
time  above  a  hundred  lofty  white  towers,  which  were 
the  temples  of  their  idols.  The  principal  temple  was 
higher  than  that  of  Mexico,  and  each  of  these  buildings 
was  placed  in  a  spacious  court." 

Approaching  the  city  of  Mexico,  he  gives  way  to  a 
burst  of  enthusiasm.  "  We  could  compare  it  to  nothing 
but  the  enchanted  scenes  we  had  read  of  in  Amadis  de 
Gaul,  from  the  great  towers,  and  temples,  and  other  edi- 
fices of  lime  and  stone  which  seemed  to  rise  up  out  of 
the  water." 

"  We  were  received  by  great  lords  of  that  country, 
relations  of  Montezuma,  who  conducted  us  to  our  lodg- 
ings there  in  palaces  magnificently  built  of  stone,  the 
timber  of  which  was  cedar,  with  spacious  courts  and 
apartments  furnished  with  canopies  of  the  finest  cotton. 
The  whole  was  ornamented  with  works  of  art  painted, 
and  admirably  plastered  and  whitened,  and  it  was  ren- 
dered more  delightful  by  numbers  of  beautiful  birds." 

"  The  palace  in  which  we  were  lodged  was  very  light, 
airy,  clean,  and  pleasant,  the  entry  being  through  a  great 

Montezuma,  in  his  first  interview  with  Cortez,  says, 
"  The  Tlascalans  have,  I  know,  told  you  that  I  am  like 
a  god,  and  that  all  about  me  is  gold,  and  silver,  and 
precious  stones ;  but  you  now  see  that  I  am  mere  flesh 
and  blood,  and  that  my  houses  are  built  like  other  houses, 
of  lime,  and  stone,  and  timber." 

"  At  the  great  square  we  were  astonished  at  the 
crowds  of  people  and  the  regularity  which  prevailed, 
and  the  vast  quantities  of  merchandise." 

"  The  entire  square  was  enclosed  in  piazzas." 

"  From  the  square  we  proceeded  to  the  great  temple, 

TOWERS,     COURTS,     ETC.  45] 

it  was  admirable,  and  equal  to  any  they  had  ever  seen 
in  Castille." 

"  I  and  ten  more  soldiers  were  posted  as  a  guard 
upon  a  wall  of  lime  and  stone" 

"  When  we  arrived  at  our  quarters  at  Jacuba  it  rain- 
ed heavily,  and  we  remained  under  it  for  two  hours  in 
some  large  enclosed  courts.  The  general,  with  his  cap- 
tains, the  treasurer,  our  reverend  father,  and  many  others 
of  us,  mounted  to  the  top  of  the  temple,  which  command- 
ed all  the  lake." 

"  We  crossed  the  water  up  to  our  necks  at  the  pass 
they  had  left  open,  and  followed  them  until  we  came  to 
a  place  where  were  large  temples  and  towers  of  idols." 

"  As  Cortez  now  lodged  at  Cuejoacan,  in  large  build- 
ings with  white  walls,  very  well  adapted  for  scribbling 
on,  there  appeared  every  morning  libels  against  him  in 
prose  and  verse.  I  recollect  the  words  of  one  only : 

'  Que  trista  esta  el  alma  mea 
Hasta  que  la  parte  vea.' 

How  anxious  I  am  for  a  share  of  the  plunder." 

"  When  our  party  (for  I  went  with  Sandoval)  arrived 
at  Tustepeque,  I  took  up  my  lodgings  in  the  summit  of 
a  tower  in  a  very  high  temple,  partly  for  the  fresh  air 
and  to  avoid  the  moschetoes,  which  were  very  trouble- 
some below,  and  partly  to  be  near  Sandoval's  quarters." 
"  We  pursued  our  route  to  the  city  of  Chiapas,  in  the 
same  province  with  Palenque,  and  a  city  it  might  be 
called,  from  the  regularity  of  its  streets  and  houses.  It 
contained  not  less  than  four  thousand  families,  not  reck- 
oning the  population  of  the  many  dependant  towns  in 
its  neighbourhood."  "We  found  the  whole  force  of 
Chiapas  drawn  up  to  receive  us.  Their  troops  were 
adorned  with  plumage." 

"  On  our  arrival  we  found  it  too  closely  built  to  be 

452  INCIDENTS       OF     TRAVEL. 

safely  occupied  by  us,  and  we  therefore  pitched  our 
camp  in  the  open  field.  In  their  temples  we  found  idols 
of  a  horrid  figure." 

Now  it  will  be  recollected  that  Bernal  Diaz  wrote  to 
do  justice  to  himself  and  others  of  the  "  true  conquerors," 
his  companions  in  arms,  whose  fame  had  been  obscured 
by  other  historians  not  actors  and  eyewitnesses ;  all  his 
references  to  buildings  are  incidental ;  he  never  expect- 
ed to  be  cited  as  authority  upon  the  antiquities  of  the 
country.  The  pettiest  skirmish  with  the  natives  was 
nearer  his  heart  than  all  the  edifices  of  lime  and  stone 
which  he  saw,  and  it  is  precisely  on  that  account  that 
his  testimony  is  the  more  valuable.  It  was  written  at  a 
time  when  there  were  many  living  who  could  contradict 
him  if  incorrect  or  false.  His  "  true  history"  never  was 
impeached ;  on  the  contrary,  while  its  style  was  consid- 
ered rude  and  inelegant,  its  fidelity  and  truth  have  been 
acknowledged  by  all  contemporaneous  and  subsequent 
historians.  In  my  opinion,  it  is  as  true  and  reliable  as 
any  work  of  travels  on  the  countries  through  which  he 
fought  his  way.  It  gives  the  hurried  and  imperfect  ob- 
servations of  an  unlettered  soldier,  whose  sword  was 
seldom  in  its  scabbard,  surrounded  by  dangers,  attack- 
ing, retreating,  wounded,  and  flying,  with  his  mind  con- 
stantly occupied  by  matters  of  more  pressing  moment. 

The  reader  cannot  fail  to  be  struck  with  the  general 
resemblance  between  the  objects  described  by  him  and 
the  scenes  referred  to  in  these  pages.  His  account 
presents  to  my  mind  a  vivid  picture  of  the  ruined  cities 
which  we  visited,  as  they  once  stood,  with  buildings  of 
lime  and  stone,  painted  and  sculptured  ornaments,  and 
plastered;  idols,  courts,  strong  walls,  and  lofty  temples 
with  high,  ranges  of  steps. 

But  if  this  is  not  sufficient,  I  have  farther  and  strong- 


er  support.  After  the  siege  of  Mexico,  on  the  re-entry 
of  the  Spaniards,  a  ruthless  and  indiscriminate  destruc- 
tion fell  upon  every  building  and  monument  in  the  city. 
No  memorials  of  the  arts  of  the  Mexicans  were  left ; 
but  in  the  year  1790,  two  statues  and  a  flat  stone,  with 
sculptured  characters  relative  to  the  Mexican  calendar, 
were  discovered  and  dug  up  from  among  the  remains 
of  the  great  Teocalli  in  the  plaza  of  the  city  of  Mexico. 
The  statues  excited  great  interest  among  the  Mexican 
Indians,  and  the  priests,  afraid  of  their  relapsing  into 
idolatry,  and  to  destroy  all  memorials  of  their  ancient 
rites,  buried  them  in  the  court  of  the  Franciscan  Con- 
vent. The  calendar  was  fixed  in  a  conspicuous  place 
in  the  wall  of  the  Cathedral,  where  it  now  stands.  In 
the  centre,  and  forming  the  principal  subject  of  this 
calendar,  is  a  face,  published  in  Humboldt's  work, 
which  in  one  particular  bears  so  strong  a  resemblance 
to  that  called  the  mask,  in  the  frontispiece  of  this  volume, 
as  to  suggest  the  idea  that  they  were  intended  for  the 
same.  There  are  palpable  differences,  but  perhaps  the 
expression  of  the  eyes  is  changed  and  improved  in  the 
engraving  published,  and,  at  all  events,  in  both  the  pe- 
culiar and  striking  feature  is  that  of  the  tongue  hanging 
out  of  the  mouth.  The  calendar  is  in  bas-relief,  and, 
as  I  understand  from  a  gentleman  who  has  seen  it,  the 
sculpture  is  good.* 

And,  lastly,  among  the  hieroglyphical  paintings  which 
escaped  destruction  from  monkish  fanaticism  are  cer- 
tain Mexican  manuscripts  now  in  the  libraries  of  Dres- 
den and  Vienna.  These  have  been  published  in  Hum- 
boldt's work  and  in  that  of  Lord  Kingsborough,  and,  on 
a  careful  examination,  we  are  strongly  of  the  opinion 
that  the  characters  are  the  same  with  those  found  on 

«  Vues  de  las  Cordilleras,  vol.  xiii.,  p.  276. 



/he  monuments  and  tablets  at  Copan  and  Palenque. 
For  the  sake  of  comparison  I  have  introduced  again  the 
engraving  of  the  top  of  the  altar  at  Copan,  and  another 
from  a  hieroglyphical  manuscript  published  in  Hum- 
boldt's  work.  Differences,  it  is  true,  are  manifest ; 


4'  \Z*)  0  \(fTi3  t  j  frr*/    |||^» 

THE     BUILDERS     OF     THESE     CITIES.         455 

but  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  in  the  former  the  char- 
acters are  carved  on  stone,  and  in  the  latter  written  on 
paper  (made  of  the  Agave  Mexicana).  Probably,  for 
this  reason,  they  want  the  same  regularity  and  finish ; 
but,  altogether,  the  reader  cannot  fail  to  mark  the 
strong  similarity,  and  this  similarity  cannot  be  acci- 
dental. The  inference  is,  that  the  Aztecs  or  Mexicans, 
at  the  time  of  the  conquest,  had  the  same  written  lan- 
guage with  the  people  of  Copan  and  Palenque. 

I  have  thus  very  briefly,  and  without  attempting  to 
controvert  the  opinions  and  speculations  of  others,  pre- 
sented our  own  views  upon  the  subject  of  these  ruins. 
As  yet  we  perhaps  stand  alone  in  these  views,  but  I 
repeat  my  opinion  that  we  are  not  warranted  in  going 
back  to  any  ancient  nation  of  the  Old  World  for  the 
builders  of  these  cities ;  that  they  are  not  the  work  of 
people  who  have  passed  away  and  whose  history  is  lost, 
but  that  there  are  strong  reasons  to  believe  them  the 
creations  of  the  same  races  who  inhabited  the  country  at 
the  time  of  the  Spanish  conquest,  or  some  not  very  dis- 
tant progenitors.  And  I  would  remark  that  we  began 
our  exploration  without  any  theory  to  support.  Our 
feelings  were  in  favour  of  going  back  to  a  high  and 
venerable  antiquity.  During  the  greater  part  of  our 
journey  we  were  groping  in  the  dark,  in  doubt  and  un- 
certainty, and  it  was  not  until  our  arrival  at  the  ruins  of 
Uxmal  that  we  formed  our  opinion  of  their  compara- 
tively modern  date.  Some  are  beyond  doubt  older  than 
others ;  some  are  known  to  have  been  inhabited  at  the 
time  of  the  Spanish  conquest,  and  others,  perhaps,  were 
really  in  ruins  before  ;  and  there  are  points  of  difference 
which  as  yet  cannot  very  readily  be  explained ;  but  in  re- 
gard to  Uxmal,  at  least,  we  believe  that  it  was  an  ex- 
isting and  inhabited  city  at  the  time  of  the  arrival  of  the 

456  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

Spaniards.  Its  desolation  and  ruin  since  are  easily  ac- 
counted for.  With  the  arrival  of  the  Spaniards  the 
sceptre  of  the  Indians  departed.  In  the  city  of  Mex- 
ico every  house  was  razed  to  the  ground,  and,  beyond 
doubt,  throughout  the  country  every  gathering-place 
or  stronghold  was  broken  up,  the  communities  scat- 
tered, their  lofty  temples  thrown  down,  and  their  idols 
burned,  the  palaces  of  the  caciques  ruined,  the  caciques 
themselves  made  bondmen,  and,  by  the  same  ruthless 
policy  which  from  time  immemorial  has  been  pursued 
in  a  conquered  country,  all  the  mementoes  of  their  an- 
cestors and  lost  independence  were  destroyed  or  made 
odious  in  their  eyes.  And,  without  this,  we  have  au- 
thentic accounts  of  great  scourges  which  swept  over,  and 
for  a  time  depopulated  and  desolated,  the  whole  of  Yu- 

It  perhaps  destroys  much  of  the  interest  that  hangs 
over  these  ruins  to  assign  to  them  a  modern  date  ;  but 
we  live  in  an  age  whose  spirit  is  to  discard  phantasms 
and  arrive  at  truth,  and  the  interest  lost  in  one  partic- 
ular is  supplied  in  another  scarcely  inferior ;  for,  the 
nearer  we  can  bring  the  builders  of  these  cities  to  our 
own  times,  the  greater  is  our  chance  of  knowing  all. 
Throughout  the  country  the  convents  are  rich  in  manu- 
scripts and  documents  written  by  the  early  fathers,  ca- 
ciques, and  Indians,  who  very  soon  acquired  the  knowl- 
edge of  Spanish  and  the  art  of  writing.  These  have 
never  been  examined  with  the  slightest  reference  to  this 
subject ;  and  I  cannot  help  thinking  that  some  precious 
memorial  is  now  mouldering  in  the  library  of  a  neigh- 
bouring convent,  which  would  determine  the  history  of 
some  one  of  these  ruined  cities ;  moreover,  I  cannot 
help  believing  that  the  tablets  of  hieroglyphics  will  yet 
be  read.  No  strong  curiosity  has  hitherto  been  direct- 


ed  to  them ;  vigour  and  acuteness  of  intellect,  knowl- 
edge and  learning,  have  never  been  expended  upon 
them.  For  centuries  the  hieroglyphics  of  Egypt  were 
inscrutable,  and,  though  not  perhaps  in  our  day,  I  feel 
persuaded  that  a  key  surer  than  that  of  the  Rosetta  stone 
will  be  discovered.  And  if  only  three  centuries  have 
elapsed  since  any  one  of  these  unknown  cities  was  in- 
habited, the  race  of  the  inhabitants  is  not  extinct.  Their 
descendants  are  still  in  the  land,  scattered,  perhaps,  and 
retired,  like  our  own  Indians,  into  wildernesses  which 
have  never  yet  been  penetrated  by  a  white  man,  but 
not  lost ;  living  as  their  fathers  did,  erecting  the  same 
buildings  of  "  lime  and  stone,"  "  with  ornaments  of 
sculpture  and  plastered,"  "  large  courts,"  and  "  lofty 
towers  with  high  ranges  of  steps,"  and  still  carving  on 
tablets  of  stone  the  same  mysterious  hieroglyphics ;  and 
if,  in  consideration  that  I  have  not  often  indulged  in 
speculative  conjecture,  the  reader  will  allow  one  flight, 
I  turn  to  that  vast  and  unknown  region,  untraversed 
by  a  single  road,  wherein  fancy  pictures  that  mysteri- 
ous city  seen  from  the  topmost  range  of  the  Cordilleras, 
of  unconquered,  unvisited,  and  unsought  aboriginal  in- 

In  conclusion,  I  am  at  a  loss  to  determine  which 
would  be  the  greatest  enterprise,  an  attempt  to  reach 
this  mysterious  city,  to  decipher  the  tablets  of  hiero- 
glyphics, or  to  wade  through  the  accumulated  manu- 
scripts of  three  centuries  in  the  libraries  of  the  convents. 

VOL.  II.— 3  M 



Journey  to  Merida. — Village  of  Moona. — A  Pond  of  Water,  a  Curiosity. — Aboula. 
— Indian  Runners. — Merida. — Departure. — Hunucama. — Siege  of  Campeachy. 
— Embarcation  for  Havana. — Incidents  of  the  Passage.— Fourth  of  July  at  Sea. 
— Shark-fishing. — Getting  lost  at  Sea. — Relieved  by  the  Helen  Maria. — Pas- 
sage to  New-York. — Arrival. — Conclusion. 

BUT  to  return  to  ourselves.  At  three,  by  the  light  of 
the  moon,  we  left  Uxmal  by  the  most  direct  road  for  Me- 
rida, Mr.  Catherwood  in  a  coach  and  I  on  horseback, 
charged  with  a  letter  from  the  junior  major-domo  to  his 
compatriot  and  friend,  Delmonico's  head  chocolate-ma- 
ker. As  I  followed  Mr.  C.  through  the  woods,  borne  on 
the  shoulders  of  Indians,  the  stillness  broken  only  by  the 
shuffle  of  their  feet,  and  under  my  great  apprehensions  for 
his  health,  it  almost  seemed  as  if  I  were  following  his  bier. 
At  the  distance  of  three  leagues  we  entered  the  village  of 
Moona,  where,  though  a  fine  village,  having  white  peo- 
ple and  Mestitzoes  among  its  inhabitants,  travellers  were 
more  rare  than  in  the  interior  of  Central  America.  We 
were  detained  two  hours  at  the  casa  real,  waiting  for  a 
relief  coach.  At  a  short  distance  beyond,  my  guide 
led  me  out  of  the  road  to  show  me  a  pond  of  water, 
which  in  that  country  was  a  curiosity.  It  was  sur- 
rounded by  woods ;  wild  cattle  were  drinking  on  the 
borders,  and  started  like  deer  at  our  approach.  At  the 
distance  of  four  leagues  we  reached  the  village  of 
Aboula,  with  a  plaza  enclosed  by  a  rough  picket-fence, 
a  good  casa  real  and  fine  old  alcalde,  who  knew  our 
servant  as  belonging  to  the  Peon  family. 

There  was  no  intermediate  village,  and  he  undertook 

AN     AMUSING     INCIDENT.  459 

to  provide  us  with  relief  Indians  to  carry  the  coach 
through  to  Merida,  twenty-seven  miles.  It  was  grow- 
ing late,  and  I  went  on  before  with  a  horse  for  change, 
to  reach  Merida  in  time  to  make  arrangements  for  a 
caleche  the  next  day. 

Toward  evening  it  rained  hard.  At  dark  I  began  to 
have  apprehension  of  leaving  Mr.  Catherwood  behind, 
sent  the  servant  on  to  secure  the  caleche,  and  dismount- 
ed to  wait.  I  was  too  dreadfully  fatigued  to  ride  back, 
and  sat  down  in  the  road ;  by  degrees  I  stretched  my- 
self on  a  smooth  stone,  with  the  bridle  around  my  wrist, 
and,  after  a  dreamy  debate  whether  my  horse  would 
tread  on  me  or  not,  fell  asleep.  I  was  roused  by  a  jerk 
which  nearly  tore  my  arm  off,  and  saw  coming  through 
the  woods  Indian  runners  with  blazing  pine  torches, 
lighting  the  way  for  the  coach,  which  had  an  aspect  so 
funereal  that  it  almost  made  me  shudder.  Mr.  C.  had 
had  his  difficulties.  After  carrying  him  about  a  league, 
the  Indians  stopped,  laid  him  down,  and,  after  an  ani- 
mated conversation,  took  him  up,  went  on,  but  in  a  little 
while  laid  him  down  again,  and,  thrusting  their  heads 
under  the  cover  of  the  coach,  made  him  an  eager 
and  clamorous  address,  of  which  he  did  not  under- 
stand one  word.  At  length  he  picked  up  dos  pesos,  or 
two  dollars,  and  gathered  that  they  wanted  two  dollars 
more.  As  the  alcalde  had  adjusted  the  account,  he  re- 
fused to  pay,  and,  after  a  noisy  wrangle,  they  quietly 
took  him  up  on  their  shoulders,  and  began  trotting  back 
with  him  to  the  village.  This  made  him  tractable,  and 
he  paid  the  money,  threatening  them  as  well  as  he  could 
with  vengeance;  but  the  amusing  part  was  that  they 
were  right.  The  alcalde  had  made  a  mistake  in  the 
calculation ;  and,  on  a  division  and  distribution  on  the 
road,  by  hard  pounding  and  calculating,  each  one 



knowing  what  he  ought  to  receive  himself,  they  discov- 
ered that  they  had  been  paid  two  dollars  short.  The 
price  was  twenty-five  cents  per  man  for  the  first,  and 
eighteen  cents  for  every  subsequent  league,  besides  fifty 
cents  for  making  the  coach ;  so  that,  with  four  men  for 
relief,  it  was  two  dollars  for  the  first  league,  and  a  dol- 
lar and  a  half  for  every  subsequent  one  ;  and  a  calcula- 
tion of  the  whole  amount  for  nine  leagues  was  rather 

It  was  half  past  one  when  we  reached  Merida,  and 
we  had  been  up  and  on  the  road  since  two  in  the  morn- 
ing. Fortunately,  with  the  easy  movement  of  the  coach, 
Mr.  C.  had  suffered  but  little.  I  was  tired  beyond  all 
measure ;  but  I  had,  what  enabled  me  to  endure  any 
degree  of  fatigue,  a  good  cot,  and  was  soon  asleep. 

The  next  morning  we  saw  my  friend  Don  Simon, 
who  was  preparing  to  go  back  and  join  us.  I  cannot 
sufficiently  express  my  sense  of  the  kindness  we  receiv- 
ed from  himself  and  his  family,  and  only  hope  that  I 
may  have  an  opportunity  at  some  future  time  of  return- 
ing it  in  my  own  country.  He  promised,  when  we  re- 
turned, to  go  down  with  us  and  assist  in  a  thorough 
exploration  of  the  ruins.  The  Spanish  vessel  was  to 
sail  the  next  day.  Toward  evening,  after  a  heavy  rain, 
as  the  dark  clouds  were  rolling  away,  and  the  setting 
sun  was  tinging  them  with  a  rich  golden  border,  we  left 
Merida.  At  eleven  o'clock  we  reached  Hunucama, 
and  stopped  in  the  plaza  two  hours  to  feed  the  horses. 
While  here,  a  party  of  soldiers  arrived  from  the  port, 
waving  pine  torches,  having  just  returned  victorious 
from  the  siege  of  Campeachy.  They  were  all  young, 
ardent,  well  dressed,  and  in  fine  spirits,  and  full  of 
praises  of  their  general,  who,  they  said,  had  remained 
at  Sisal  to  attend  a  ball,  and  was  coining  on  as  soon  a? 


it  was  over.  Resuming  our  journey,  in  an  hour  more 
we  met  a  train  of  caliches,  with  officers  in  uniform. 
We  stopped,  congratulated  the  general  upon  his  victory 
at  Campeachy,  inquired  for  a  United  States'  sloop-of- 
war  which  we  had  heard  was  there  during  the  block- 
ade, and,  with  many  interchanges  of  courtesy,  but  with- 
out seeing  a  feature  of  each  other's  faces,  resumed  our 
separate  roads.  An  hour  before  daylight  we  reached 
Sisal,  at  six  o'clock  we  embarked  on  board  the  Spanish 
brig  Alexandre  for  Havana,  and  at  eight  we  were  un- 
der way. 

It  was  the  twenty-fourth  of  June ;  and  now,  as  we 
thought,  all  our  troubles  were  ended.  The  morning 
was  fine.  We  had  eight  passengers,  all  Spanish;  one 
of  whom,  from  the  interior,  when  he  came  down  to  the 
shore  and  saw  the  brig  in  the  offing,  asked  what  ani- 
mal it  was.  From  my  great  regard  to  the  captain,  I 
will  not  speak  of  the  brig  or  of  its  condition,  particular- 
ly the  cabin,  except  to  say  that  it  was  Spanish.  The 
wind  was  light ;  we  breakfasted  on  deck,  making  the 
top  of  the  companion-way  serve  as  a  table  under  an 
awning.  The  captain  told  us  we  would  be  in  Havana 
in  a  week. 

Our  course  lay  along  the  coast  of  Yucatan  toward 
Cape  Catoche.  On  Sunday,  the  28th,  we  had  made, 
according  to  the  brig's  reckoning,  about  one  hundred 
and  fifty  miles,  and  were  then  becalmed.  The  sun  was 
intensely  hot,  the  sea  of  glassy  stillness,  and  all  day  a 
school  of  sharks  were  swimming  around  the  brig.  From 
this  time  we  had  continued  calms,  and  the  sea  was  like 
a  mirror,  heated  and  reflecting  its  heat.  On  the  Fourth 
of  July  there  was  the  same  glassy  stillness,  with  light 
clouds,  but  fixed  and  stationary.  The  captain  said  we 
were  incantado  or  enchanted,  and  really  it  almost  seem- 


ed  so.  We  had  expected  to  celebrate  this  day  by  dining 
with  the  American  consul  in  Havana  ;  but  our  vessel  lay 
like  a  log,  and  we  were  scorching,  and  already  pinched 
for  water ;  the  bare  thought  of  a  Fourth  of  July  dinner 
meanwhile  making  Spanish  ship-cookery  intolerable. 
We  had  read  through  all  the  books  in  the  mate's  libra- 
ry, consisting  of  some  French  novels  translated  into 
Spanish,  and  a  history  of  awful  shipwrecks.  To  break 
the  monotony  of  the  calm,  we  had  hooks  and  lines  out 
constantly  for  sharks  ;  the  sailors  called  them,  like  the 
alligators,  ennemigos  de  los  Christianos,  hoisted  them 
on  deck,  cut  out  their  hearts  and  entrails,  and  then 
threw  them  overboard.  We  were  already  out  ten  days, 
and  growing  short  of  provisions  ;  we  had  two  young 
shaiks  for  dinner.  Apart  from  the  associations,  they 
were  not  bad — quite  equal  to  young  alligators  ;  and  the 
captain  told  us  that  in  Campeachy  they  were  regularly 
in  the  markets,  and  eaten  by  all  classes.  In  the  after- 
noon they  gathered  around  us  fearfully.  Everything  that 
fell  overboard  was  immediately  snapped  up ;  and  the 
hat  of  a  passenger  which  fell  from  his  head  had  hardly 
touched  the  water  before  a  huge  fellow  turned  over  on 
his  side,  opened  his  ugly  mouth  above  the  water,  and 
swallowed  it :  luckily,  the  man  was  not  under  it.  To- 
ward evening  we  caught  a  leviathan,  raised  him  four  or 
five  feet  out  of  the  water  with  the  hook,  and  the  sail- 
ors, leaning  over,  beat  his  brains  with  the  capstan  bars 
till  he  was  motionless  ;  then  fastening  a  rope  with 
a  slipnoose  under  his  fins,  with  the  ship's  tackle  they 
hoisted  him  on  deck.  He  seemed  to  fill  half  the  side 
of  the  vessel.  The  sailors  opened  his  mouth,  and  fas- 
tened the  jaws  apart  with  a  marlinspike,  turned  him 
over  on  his  back,  ripped  him  open,  and  tore  out  his 
heart  and  entrails.  They  then  chopped  off  about  a  foot 


of  his  tail  and  threw  him  overboard  ;  what  he  did  I  will 
not  mention,  lest  it  should  bring  discredit  upon  other 
parts  of  these  pages  which  the  reader  is  disposed  to 
think  may  be  true ;  but  the  last  we  saw  of  him  he 
seemed  to  be  feeling  for  his  tail. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  next  day  we  crossed  a  strong 
current  setting  to  northwest,  which  roared  like  break- 
ers ;  soundings  before  one  hundred  and  twenty  fathoms  j 
during  the  evening  there  was  no  bottom,  and  we  sup- 
posed we  must  have  passed  Cape  Catoche. 

On  the  sixth,  seventh,  eighth,  ninth,  tenth,  eleventh 
and  twelfth  there  was  the  same  dead  calm,  with  a  seu 
like  glass  and  intense  heat.  We  were  scant  of  provis- 
ions, and  alarmed  for  entire  failure  of  water.  The  cap- 
tain was  a  noble  Spaniard,  who  comforted  the  passen- 
gers by  repeating  every  morning  that  we  were  enchant- 
ed, but  for  several  days  he  had  been  uneasy  and  alarmed. 
He  had  no  chronometer  on  board.  He  had  been  thirty 
years  trading  from  Havana  to  different  ports  in  the  Gulf 
of  Mexico,  and  had  never  used  one  ;  but  out  of  sound- 
ings, among  currents,  with  nothing  but  the  log,  he  could 
not  determine  his  longitude,  and  was  afraid  of  getting 
into  the  Gulf  Stream  and  being  carried  past  Havana. 
Our  chronometer  had  been  nine  months  in  hard  use, 
jolted  over  severe  mountain  roads,  and,  as  we  suppo- 
sed, could  not  be  relied  upon.  Mr.  Catherwood  made 
a  calculation  with  an  old  French  table  of  logarithms 
which  happened  to  be  on  board,  but  with  results  so  dif- 
ferent from  the  captain's  reckoning  that  we  supposed  it 
could  not  be  correct.  At  this  time  our  best  prospect 
was  that  of  reaching  Havana  in  the  midst  of  the  yellow 
fever  season,  sailing  from  there  in  the  worst  hurricane 
month,  and  a  quarantine  at  Staten  Island. 

On  the  thirteenth  of  July  everything  on  board  was 

464  INCIDENTS     OF     TRAVEL. 

getting  scarce,  and  with  crew  and  passengers  twenty 
in  number,  we  broached  our  last  cask  of  water.  The 
heat  was  scorching,  and  the  calm  and  stillness  of  the 
sea  were  fearful.  All  said  we  were  enchanted  ;  and  the 
sailors  added,  half  in  earnest,  that  it  was  on  account  of 
the  heretics ;  sharks  more  numerous  than  ever  \  we 
could  not  look  over  the  side  of  the  vessel  without  see- 
ing three  or  four,  as  if  waiting  for  prey. 

On  the  fourteenth  the  captain  was  alarmed.  The  log 
was  thrown  regularly,  but  could  not  give  his  position. 
Toward  evening  we  saw  an  enormous  monster,  with  a 
straight  black  head  ten  feet  out  of  water,  moving  di- 
rectly toward  us.  The  captain,  looking  at  it  from  the 
rigging  with  a  glass,  said  it  was  not  a  whale.  Another 
of  the  same  kind  appeared  at  the  stern,  and  we  were 
really  nervous  ;  but  we  were  relieved  by  hearing  them 
spout,  and  seeing  a  column  of  water  thrown  into  the  air. 
At  dark  they  were  lying  huge  and  motionless  on  the 
surface  of  the  water. 

On  the  fifteenth,  to  our  great  joy,  a  slight  breeze 
sprang  up  in  the  morning,  and  the  log  gave  three  miles 
an  hour.  At  twelve  o'clock  we  took  the  latitude,  which 
was  in  25°  10',  and  found  that  in  steering  southward  at 
the  rate  of  three  miles  an  hour  by  the  log,  we  were  fifty- 
five  miles  to  the  northward  of  the  reckoning  of  the  day 
before.  The  captain  now  believed  that  we  were  in  the 
midst  of  the  Gulf  Stream,  had  been  so  perhaps  two  or 
three  days,  and  were  then  two  or  three  hundred  miles 
past  Havana.  Mr.  Catherwood's  chronometer  gave  88° 
longitude  ;  but  this  was  so  far  out  of  the  way  by  our 
dead  reckoning,  that,  with  our  distrust  of  the  chronome- 
ter, we  all  disregarded  it,  and  the  captain  especially. 
We  were  then  in  a  very  bad  position,  short  of  provis- 
ions and  water,  and  drifted  past  our  port.  The  captain 

A     MEETING     AT     SEA.  465 

called  aft  passengers,  sailors,  cook,  and  cabin-boy,  spread 
the  chart  on  the  companion-way,  and  pointed  out  our 
supposed  position,  saying  that  he  wished  to  take  the 
advice  of  all  on  board  as  to  what  was  best  to  be  done. 
The  mate  sat  by  with  the  log-book  to  take  notes.  All 
remained  silent  until  the  cook  spoke,  and  said  that  the 
captain  knew  best ;  the  sailors  and  passengers  assented ; 
for,  although  we  considered  it  all  uncertain,  and  that  we 
were  completely  lost,  we  believed  that  he  knew  better 
than  anybody  else.  The  captain  pointed  out  the  course 
of  the  Gulf  Stream,  sajd  it  would  be  impossible  to  turn 
back  against  it,  and,  having  a  light,  favourable  breeze, 
recommended  that  we  should  follow  the  stream,  and 
bear  up  for  New  Providence  for  a  supply  of  provisions 
and  water.  All  assented,  and  so  we  put  about  from 
the  south  and  squared  the  yards  for  the  northeast.  At 
that  moment  we  considered  ourselves  farther  from  Ha- 
vana than  when  we  started. 

With  most  uncomfortable  feelings  we  sat  down  to  a 
scanty  meal.  Supposing  that  we  were  in  the  Gulf 
Stream  and  in  the  track  of  vessels,  the  captain  sent  a 
man  aloft  to  look  out  for  a  sail,  who  very  soon,  to  our 
great  joy,  reported  a  brig  to  leeward.  We  hoisted  our 
flag  and  bore  down  upon  her.  As  we  approached  she 
answered  our  signal,  and  with  a  glass  we  recognised 
the  American  ensign.  In  an  hour  we  were  nearly  with- 
in hailing  distance ;  the  captain  could  not  speak  Eng- 
ish,  and  gave  me  the  speaking-trumpet ;  but  fancying, 
from  his  movements,  that  our  countryman  did  not  like 
he  Spanish  colours,  and  afraid  of  some  technical  irreg- 
ularity in  my  hail,  which  would  make  us  an  object  of 
suspicion,  we  begged  him  to  lower  the  jolly-boat.  This 
was  lying  on  the  deck,  with  her  bottom  upward  and  her 
seams  opened  by  the  sun.  The  water  poured  into  her 
VOL.  II.— 3  N 


and  before  we  were  fifty  yards  from  the  brig  she  was 
half  full.  "We  sat  up  on  the  gunwale,  and  two  of  the 
men  had  as  much  as  they  could  do  to  keep  her  afloat, 
while  we  urged  the  others  to  pull.  Sharks  were  play- 
ing around  us.  and  for  a  few  moments  we  wished  to  be 
back  on  board  the  old  brig.  A  breeze  seemed  to  strike 
the  vessel,  which  for  two  or  three  minutes  kept  steadily 
on ;  but,  to  our  great  relief,  she  hove  to  and  took  us  on 
board.  Our  Spanish  colours,  and  our  irregular  move- 
ment in  attempting  to  board  without  hailing,  had  exci- 
ted suspicion,  and  the  sailors  said  we  were  pirates ;  but 
the  captain,  a  long,  cool-headed  down-easter,  standing 
on  the  quarter  with  both  his  hands  in  his  pockets,  and 
seeing  the  sinking  condition  of  our  boat,  said,  "  Them's 
no  pirates."  The  brig  was  the  Helen  Maria,  of  North 
Yarmouth,  Sweetzer,  master,  from  Tobasco,  and  bound 
to  New- York  !  The  reader  cannot  imagine  the  satis- 
faction with  which  I  greeted  on  the  high  seas  a  coun- 
tryman bound  for  New- York.  My  first  question  was 
whether  he  could  take  us  on  board,  next  for  provisions 
and  water  for  our  friends,  and  then  where  we  were. 
He  showed  us  his  observation  for  the  day.  We  were 
about  four  hundred  miles  from  the  spot  we  supposed. 
The  current  which  sets  up  between  Cape  Catoche  and 
Cape  Antonio  the  captain  had  taken  for  the  Gulf  Stream. 
If  we  had  attended  to  Mr.  C.'s  chronometer  we  should 
not  have  been  far  out  of  the  way.  As  it  was,  we  were 
perfectly  lost ;  and  if  we  had  not  met  this  vessel,  I  do  not 
know  what  would  have  become  of  us.  The  captain 
was  but  seven  days  from  Tobasco,  with  a  wind  that  had 
carried  away  one  of  his  sails,  and  had  lost  one  of  his  men. 
He  had  no  surplus  of  provisions,  particularly  with  two 
additional  passengers ;  but  he  sent  on  board  what  he 
could,  and  a  supply  of  water.  We  returned,  told  the 

PASSAGE     TO     NEW -YORK.  467 

captain,  much  to  his  surprise  and  astonishment,  of  his 
position,  not  more  than  two  hundred  miles  from  Sisal, 
and  bade  all  hands  farewell.  They  were  not  sorry  to 
get  rid  of  us,  for  the  absence  of  two  mouths  was  an 
object;  and  though,  perhaps,  in  their  hearts  they  thought 
their  bad  luck  was  on  account  of  the  heretics,  it  was 
pleasant,  that  with  all  our  vexations,  parting  thus  on  the 
wide  ocean,  we  shook  hands  with  captain,  passengers, 
sailors,  cook,  and  cabin-boy,  having  no  unkind  feeling 
with  any  one  on  board.  How  long  they  were  out  I  do 
not  know,  but  I  heard  that  they  arrived  at  Havana  in 
wretched  condition,  having  eaten  up  the  last  morsel  on 

Our  new  vessel  had  a  full  cargo  of  logwood,  the  deck 
being  loaded  even  with  the  quarter,  and  stowed  so  close 
that  the  cabin-door  was  taken  off,  and  the  descent  was 
over  a  water-cask ;  but  the  change  from  the  Spanish  to 
the  American  vessel  was  a  strange  transition.  The 
former  had  a  captain,  two  mates,  and  eight  sailors ;  the 
latter  one  mate  and  three  sailors,  with  plank  over  the 
deck-load  for  sailors  to  run  on,  an  enormous  boom  main- 
sail, and  a  tiller  instead  of  a  wheel,  sweeping  the  whole 
quarter-deck,  and  at  times  requiring  two  men  to  hold  it. 
In  the  evening  we  had  two  or  three  hours  of  calm ;  we 
were  used  to  it,  but  the  captain  was  annoyed ;  he  de- 
tested a  calm ;  he  had  not  had  one  since  he  left  Tobas- 
co  ;  he  could  bear  anything  but  a  calm.  In  the  evening 
the  charm  was  broken  by  a  squall.  The  captain  hated 
to  take  in  sail,  held  on  till  the  last  moment,  and  then, 
springing  from  the  tiller,  hauled  on  the  ropes  himself, 
and  was  back  again  at  the  rudder,  all  in  a  flash.  Mr. 
C.  and  I  were  so  well  pleased  with  the  change  that  we 
were  in  no  hurry  ;  and,  noticing  the  shortness  of  hands, 
and  stumbling  over  logwood,  we  suggested  to  the  cap- 


tain  that  if  he  lost  another  man  he  would  have  difficulty 
in  carrying  his  vessel  into  port ;  but  he  put  this  down 
at  once  by  swearing  that,  if  he  lost  every  hand  on  board, 
the  mate  and  he  could  carry  her  in  themselves,  deck- 
load  and  all. 

On  the  thirty-first  of  July  we  arrived  at  New- York, 
being  ten  months  less  three  days  since  we  sailed,  and 
nine  without  having  received  any  intelligence  whatever 
from  our  friends  at  home ;  deducting  the  time  passed 
at  sea,  but  seven  months  and  twenty-four  days  in  the 
prosecution  of  our  work.  This,  I  am  sure,  must  recom- 
mend us  to  every  true  American  ;  and  here,  on  the  same 
spot  from  which  we  set  out  together,  and  with  but  little 
hope  of  ever  journeying  with  him  again,  I  bid  the  reader 
farewell.  « 


HAVING  mentioned  in  the  preceding  pages  efforts  to  introduce 
into  this  country  some  of  the  antiquities  therein  described,  the 
author  considers  it  proper  to  say  that,  immediately  on  his  re- 
turn home,  a  few  friends,  whose  names  he  would  have  great 
pleasure  in  making  known  if  he  were  at  liberty  to  do  so,  under- 
took to  provide  the  sum  of  $20,000  for  the  purpose  of  carrying 
that  object  into  effect.  Under  their  direction,  the  author  wrote 
to  his  agent  at  Guatimala,  to  purchase  the  ruins  of  Quirigua,  or 
such  monuments  as  it  might  be  considered  advisable  to  remove,  at 
a  price  beyond  what  would  have  been  accepted  for  them  when 
he  left  Guatimala ;  but,  unfortunately,  in  the  mean  time,  a  notice 
taken  from  Mr.  Catherwood's  memoranda,  and  inserted  by  the 
proprietors  in  a  Guatimala  paper,  had  reached  this  country, 
been  translated  and  copied  into  some  of  our  own  journals,  and 
one  eulogistic  paragraph,  probably  forgotten  as  soon  as  written, 
was  sent  back  to  Guatimala,  which  gave  the  proprietor  such 
an  exaggerated  notion  of  their  value  that  he  refused  the  offer. 
From  vague  conversations  with  foreigners  who  had  never  seen 
and  knew  nothing  of  them,  he  conceived  the  idea  that  all  the 
governments  of  Europe  would  vie  with  each  other  for  their  pos- 
session ;  and  still  entertaining  the  foolish  belief  that  the  author 
was  acting  on  behalf  of  his  government,  said  that,  if  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  wanted  them,  he  must  pay  $20,000  for 
them  ;  in  the  mean  time,  he  resolved  to  wait  for  offers  from 
England  and  France.  By  the  last  advices  he  was  still  under  the 
same  hallucination.  . 

In  regard  to  Palenque,  the  author  has  just  received  a  letter 
from  Mr.  Russell,  enclosing  four  documents  brought  to  him  by 
Mr.  Pawling,  which,  translated  so  far  as  the  manuscripts  can  be 
made  out,  are  as  follows  : 


"  The  governor  has  been  informed  that  the  vice-governor  of 
Balize"  (meaning,  no  doubt,  Mr.  Secretary  Walker  and  Captain 
Caddy)  "  came  to  explore  the  ruins  a  few  days  since,  with  fourteen 
armed  men,  and  you  have  neither  prevented  him  nor  given  any 
information  to  this  government. 

"  Now  he  is  again  informed  that  some  citizens  of  the  United 

States  of  the  North  are  doing  the  same  ;  in  virtue  of  which,  his 

excellency  orders  me  to  tell  you  to  inform  him  immediately  upon 

the  truth  of  these  facts,  that  he  may  take  the  necessary  measures. 

"  God  and  liberty. 

"  ENRIQUE  Ruiz. 
"  San  Cristobal,*  October  1, 1840." 

"  The  subscribers,  inhabitants  of  this  town,  as  true  patriots, 
and  lovers  of  the  prosperity  and  advancement  of  their  country, 
before  you,  with  due  respect,  and  with  the  legal  right  that  we 
may  have,  appear,  spying  that  it  is  something  like  more  than 
three  months  since  a  citizen  of  North  America,  named  Henry 
Paulin,  has  fixed  his  residence  on  the  ruins  in  this  district,  with 
the  view  of  making  moulds  of  every  monument  and  precious 
thing  that  there  is  on  them ;  as,  in  fact,  he  is  making  them, 
since,  up  to  this  date ;  he  has  already  made  something  like 
thirty  moulds  of  plaster  of  Paris,  including  two  which  he  took  to 
the  town  of  Carmen,  without  giving  notice  to  anybody,  and  with 
the  object  of  shipping  them  for  the  North"  (these  two  have  been 
received  by  the  author).  "  The  said  moulds  are  so  much  like 
the  originals,  that  at  the  first  sight  it  may  be  observed  that  they 
may  be  taken,  surely,  for  second  originals,  and  no  doubt  they 
may  serve  to  mould  after  them  as  many  copies  as  might  be 
wished,  and  in  this  manner  they  may  supply  the  world  with 
these  precious  things  without  a  six  cents'  piece  expense.  Mr. 
William  Brown,  married  to  Donna  Trinidad  Garrido,  offered 
from  eight  to  ten  thousand  dollars  only  for  the  leave  to  extract 
four  or  six  principal  stones  from  these  rums,  in  quality  of  a  loan 
*  *  *  *  or  to  *  *  *  *»  ^e  precise  nature  of  MR.  WILLIAM 
BROWN'S  offer  cannot  be  made  out,  from  the  illegible  character 

*  Or  Ciudad  Real,  the  capital  of  the  State  of  Chiapas. 


of  the  handwriting),  "  promising  all  these  things  with  the  most 
satisfactory  guarantees.  Saving  you,  sir,  from  any  responsibil- 
ity, we  take  it  upon  ourselves,  since  we  are  aware  of  your  bad 
state  of  health,  and  we  suppose  that  you  do  not  know  of  this  fact" 
(manuscript  illegible),  "  on  account  of  this  master  operation, 
or  whosoever  is  concerned  in  it,  make  this  gentleman  pay  four 
or  five  thousand  dollars,  to  apply  them  to  benevolent  works,  and 
to  the  embellishment  of  this  town,  or  else  let  him  in  no  manner 
take  away  with  him  any  of  the  moulds  of  plaster  of  Paris  he  has 
made  and  continues  making.  Indeed,  if  this  treasure  is  ours, 
and  by  right  belongs  to  our  town,  why  should  it  not  be  benefited 
by  it? 

"  It  is  an  honour  to  us,  sir,  to  make  a  demand  of  this  nature, 
since  we  have  not  heard  that  any  offer  whatever  has  been  made 
at  all  about  this  undertaking  up  to  this  date.  Let  the  visitors  of 
these  ruins  make  moulds,  drawings,  &c.,  but  let  them  also  con- 
tribute with  sums  proportionate  to  their  operations.  This  is,  sir, 
if  we  are  not  mistaken,  a  business  of  a  great  speculation.  The 
persons  concerned  in  this  affair  are  men  of  importance.  There- 
fore we  beg  of  you  most  earnestly,  and  in  virtue  of  our  legal 
right,  not  to  permit  the  removal  of  any  of  the  said  moulds  of 
plaster  of  Paris  from  this  town  without  the  said  sums  being 
paid,  grounded  on  the  great  utility  that  the  extractors  may  de- 
rive from  it,  as  well  as  on  the  aforesaid  offer  made  by  Mr.  Brown. 

"  Palenque,  October  15,  1840." 

"  Don  Santiago  Froncoso  having  informed  the  governor  that 
he  and  two  other  inhabitants  of  that  town  have  presented  a  me- 
morial before  you  in  regard  to  the  removal  of  the  antiquities  of 
the  ruins  at  Palenque,  his  excellency  consulted  the  departmental 
junta  on  the  subject,  which  junta  answered  by  approving  the  pe- 
tition, which  copy  I  send  you  enclosed,  with  the  decree  of  his  ex- 
cellency written  under  it,  that  you  may  cause  it  to  be  fulfilled. 
I  send  you,  likewise,  two  copies  of  the  regulations  for  passports 
for  the  archives  of  that  subprefecture,  with  the  object  that  the 



subprefect  should  act  according  to  it,  in  the  introduction  of  for- 
eigners  in  your  district,  and  also  a  copy  of  the  order  of  the  17th 
of  June,  1835,  and  his  excellency  orders  me  to  tell  you  to  inform 
him  immediately  with  regard  to  the  issue  of  the  fulfilment  of  his 
said  decree. 

"  It  is  a  copy.  God  and  liberty. 

"  San  Cristobal,  December  1, 1840." 

"  His  excellency  the  governor,  having  read  youi  information 
of  the  15th  inst.,  orders  me  to  tell  you  to  keep  a  watchful  eye 
upon  the  strangers  who  visit  the  ruins  ;  and  when  any  of  them 
arrive,  to  give  notice  of  it  to  this  government  without  delay,  ex- 
pressing their  numbers,  whence  they  come,  and  what  is  their  ob- 
ject, without  allowing  them  to  make  any  operation  or  excava- 
tion, and  much  less  to  remove  anything  whatever,  however  in- 
significant it  may  appear. 

"  Consequently,  if  they  arrive  with  the  only  object  of  visiting, 
let  them  do  it  in  company  with  one,  two,  or  more  officers  of  that 
subprefecture,  that  the  above  dispositions  may  be  fulfilled. 
"  It  is  a  copy  from  the  original. 

"  God  and  liberty. 

"  San  Cristobal,  November  30, 1840." 

Under  these  orders  Mr.  Pawling  has  been  compelled  to  leave 
the  ruins,  and  the  casts  belonging  to  the  author,  for  the  making  of 
which  he  had  subjected  himself  to  considerable  expense,  have 
been  seized  and  detained  by  the  prefect.  Perhaps,  instead  of 
unavailing  regrets,  he  ought  rather  to  congratulate  himself  that 
he  had  left  the  ruins,  and  that  Mr.  Catherwood's  drawings  were 
safe,  before  the  news  of  their  visit  reached  the  capital.  He  can 
imagine  the  excitement  in  the  village,  and  the  annoyance  and 
vexation  to  which  future  travellers  will  be  subjected ;  but  he  can- 
not understand  exactly  the  cause.  His  purpose  of  leaving  Paw- 
ling to  make  casts  was  known  in  the  village,  and  no  objections 
whatever  were  made.  Don  Santiago  Froncoso,  the  first  of  the 
"  true  patriots"  whose  names  are  signed  to  the  complaint,  was 


his  particular  friend,  from  whom,  late  in  the  evening  before  he 
left  Palenque,  he  received  the  following  note  (translation)  : 

«  Mr. (I  do  not  know  your  surname),  at  his  house,  June  3,  1840. 


"  I  have  just  arrived,  because  my  wife  sent  me  notice  yesterday 
that  you  (permit  me  to  address  you  on  the  footing  of  a  friend*) 
and  your  estimable  companion  depart  to-morrow  without  fail. 
If  it  is  really  true,  continue  your  journey  with  all  the  felicity 
which  my  great  affection  desires.  I  send  you,  together  with  my 
gratitude  and  affection,  this  raw  silk  from  the  ruins  to  keep  for 
my  sake. 

"  Farewell,  my  friend  and  dearest  sir.  Command  whatever 
you  wish,  and  from  whatever  distance. 

"  Your  most  affectionate  friend, 


"  Senor  ex-plenipotentiary  envoy  near  the  government  of  Cen- 
tral America  from  the  government  of  North  America." 

The  author  feels  assured  that,  if  he  had  been  on  the  spot  him- 
self,  Don  Santiago  would  have  been  the  last  man  in  the  place  to 
embarrass  his  operations.  He  is  now  violent  against  foreigners. 
The  author  has  received  no  letter  from  Mr.  Pawling,  and  fears 
that  he  has  in  some  way  got  into  difficulty  with  the  people  of  the 
village,  or  else  the  author's  plans  have  been  defeated,  and  his  casts 
are  detained  and  kept  from  being  introduced  into  the  United 
States,  by  the  agency  and  offers  of  Mr.  William  Brottm.  In 
the  absence  of  any  farther  information  than  what  appears  in  these 
documents,  the  author  makes  no  comments  ;  but  he  mentions, 
that  this  Mr.  William  Broum  is  an  American,  known  in  this 
city  as  Captain  William  Brown,  having  been  for  several  years 
master  of  a  vessel  trading  between  this  port  and  Tobasco. 

It  was  the  hope  of  the  gentlemen  before  referred  to,  with 
the  monuments  of  Quirigua,  casts  from  Copan  and  Palenque, 
or  the  tablets  themselves,  and  other  objects  from  other  places 
within  their  reach,  to  lay  the  foundation  of  a  Museum  of  Amer- 
ican  Antiquities  which  might  deserve  the  countenance  of  the  Gen- 

*  Don  Santiago  apologizes  for  not  using  the  title  your  excellency. 

VOL.  II.— 3  0 


eral  Government,  and  draw  to  it  Catlin's  Indian  Gallery,  and  every 
other  memorial  of  the  aboriginal  races,  whose  history  within  our 
own  borders  has  already  become  almost  a  romance  and  fable. 
The  author  does  not  despair  of  this  yet.  The  difficulty  will  per- 
haps be  increased  (the  author  trusts  he  will  not  be  considered 
presumptuous)  by  the  attention  that  will  be  directed  to  the  re- 
mains of  Palenque  and  the  other  ruined  cities  by  the  publication 
of  these  pages,  and  the  consequently  exaggerated  notions  that 
the  inhabitants  will  form  of  their  value  ;  but  then  he  is  persua- 
ded that  the  Government  of  Mexico  will,  on  proper  representa- 
tions, order  a  restitution  of  the  casts  now  detained  at  Palenque, 
and  that  the  republic,  without  impoverishing  herself,  will  enrich 
her  neighbours  of  the  North  with  the  knowledge  of  the  many 
other  curious  remains  scattered  through  her  country.  And  he 
entertains  the  belief  also  that  England  and  France,  whose  for- 
midable competition  has  already  been  set  up,  as  it  were  in  ter- 
rorem,  by  one  proprietor,  having  their  capitals  enriched  by  the 
remains  of  art  collected  throughout  the  Old  World,  will  respect 
the  rights  of  nations  and  discovery,  and  leave  the  field  of  American 
antiquities  to  us  ;  that  they  will  not  deprive  a  destitute  country 
of  its  only  chance  of  contributing  to  the  cause  of  science,  but  ra- 
ther encourage  it  in  the  work  of  bringing  together,  from  remote 
and  almost  inaccessible  places,  and  retaining  on  its  own  soil,  the 
architectural  remains  of  its  aboriginal  inhabitants. 



T.  j«AR  6    1959 

University  of  Toronto 








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